by Ate Cora Pangyarihan
Last July 17 at around 7:00AM, six representatives from San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish headed for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Bgy Holy Spirit for a vicariate youth workshop. These were Kuya Cesar Tiongson, Ate Karen Yap, Ate Mavic Montañez, Kuya Jet Yap, Kuya Anton Mamawag, and me. Our Vicar Forane, Fr. Nonette Legaspi opened this two-day workshop with Rev. Fr. Mario Baclig, SDB, acting as our facilitator. The seminar-workshop focused on the youth of today, the youth ministers, and the youth ministry.
As defined by Kalakbay: Directory for Catholic Youth Ministry in the Philippines, the Filipino Catholic Youth are family-directed, highly-inter-personal, not very service-oriented, personal but individualistic in relating with God, nominal in their faith, decreasing in their traditional appreciation of the sacraments, distant from the Church’s teachings and life (in spite of their feelings of belongingness to Her). Given this outline of the youth of today, our first group dynamics was defining the youth in the parish and the youth of today, and closing it with challenges and strategies that will address the issues that came out during the session. The workshop also led us to a step-by-step process for planning strategies that will lead to our goal of uniting the youth and becoming more committed to serving the young as youth leaders and youth ministers(parents, priest, church leaders).
The Second Plenary Council decreed: “The Youth Ministry should be assured of the FULLEST ATTENTION and HIGHEST PRIORITY in EVERY WAY BY ALL in the Church.” (PCP II, Art. 50, no.2) Driven by these new words of hope , the group was more than enthusiastic to re-structure our Youth Ministry in the parish by looking at its different contexts. First was defining the Social Context: Political, Economic, and Cultural Situation of the youth. Second, defining the Ecclesial Context of the youth in the church. We then looked at the effects, both positive and negative, of these contexts on the youth and the challenges these situations present to the 3rd millennium youth ministry. The day ended with a Taize Mass, where all of us participated in as readers in addition to setting up of the altar and the icon. It was a very intimate and solemn mass of the youth, for the youth and by the youth.
The next day Kuya Al Yap joined us. The day started by drawing up a vision-mission statement for our youth ministry which was based on the visions for the society and the church, for the children and the youth, for the youth ministers and the youth ministry and the challenges that were listed during the previous sessions. Before lunch time, we had a Youth Mass where the entrance song and the Hosanna were animated. We were also tasked to prepare the prayers of the faithful for the youth and the thanksgiving prayer. It was a fun experience to be guided and corrected during the Mass, but also very inspiring. After lunch, we continued with our workshop. Deriving from the vision, we came up with a mission statement that hopefully, will address the vision statements.
The last part of the session started with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the youth and the youth ministers where we chose our PRIORITY GROWTH-OBJECTIVES, the issues that we saw needed immediate attention for establishing and consolidating our youth ministry. From these PRIORITY GROWTH-OBJECTIVES, we then identified the programs and activities in forming the young that can address the issues that were raised. The day ended with our final test - singing and animating the song “Youth Serving Youth”. “Youth serving youth, moving out to those who need us, shaping a world that will soon be all our own. Youth serving youth, not afraid to take the challenge, to be the bearers of love and signs of all that we believe.” (Vilbar SDB)
We believe that through these exposures, we will understand more our situation - where we are now, what we lack, and why we are not able to sustain a ministry that is defined now as a growth-enabling relationship between the youth (the special treasures of the church and society) and the youth ministers (elders who have been chosen and sent by the Christian community). The youth are called to serve their fellow youth, but the youth ministers (the parents, priests, church leaders) are also called to openness, trust, dedication and service, to journey with us and lead us to Jesus Christ.
The Youth Ministry will be an effective ministry ONLY when there is awareness and understanding of the young of today. (KALAKBAY: Directory for Catholic Youth Ministry in the Philippines)