Filipino youth portray their values
In preparing for the 2019 “Year of the Youth,” a three-day conference was sponsored by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth. One beautiful outcome of this reflecting and sharing was “An Open Letter of the Filipino Youth to the Catholic Church in the Philippines.” The document set four goals for 2019 as the Year of the Youth.
Goal One: “Youth in Formation” envisions an evangelized youth that is conscious of being gifted. They seek to be “transformed by a personal encounter with Christ” and to mature in their faith. Goal Two: “Youth in the Community, Church and Society” desires a “family-oriented youth whose image of oneself is patterned after the life of Jesus and who is actively involved in the life of the Church.”
Goal Three: “Youth in Mission” foresees “a youth inspired by the Church’s missionary spirit, who, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, courageously shares Christ’s message of joy and hope to people in difficult situations.” Goal Four: “Youth Ministry and Youth Ministers” seeks “a preferential ministry for the young … with the spirit of the new evangelization.”
Idealism of Youth. The young noted that “we liken ourselves to the two disciples of Emmaus and converse with Jesus about who we are, where we are, and what are our concerns and hopes as we journey in life and walk in faith.”
“Filipino youth of the 21st century are life-given and want to be life-giving. We are dynamic individuals, overflowing with blessings, willing and open to learn and to grow…. We are all searching for our identity—who we are. We search for our meaning and ultimately our purpose in life. We know that we are called for something more than ourselves.”
“We are called to act, but we still need to be guided and formed…. We do not see ourselves as ‘the future,’ but as ‘the present’ of the Church, the world, and of society. Hence, we are gifts, life-given to the Church and to the Philippines, and we want to be truly life-giving.”
Spirituality of the Youth. In forthright language, the youth note: “We choose to express this longing for a deeper relationship with our Lord and heighten our experience of faith through personal prayer and participation in various prayer gatherings. Our apparent distrust and doubt on the credibility of the Church, on the other hand, is but an expression of our burning desire to see her truly living the joy of the Gospel.”
“We long for a Church that embodies Christ’s vision and for her—a Church that: ● has confidence in us, and ensures that we are ‘not marginalized but feel accepted,’ ● declares and actualizes her preferential apostolate for us; and ● ‘draws the attention of young people by being rooted in Jesus Christ’.”
Value of Family Affirmed. In their “self-description” the Filipino youth express how deeply they reverence their families. “Our family is where we first experience love, care and belongingness. It is also where we have our first role models who guide and shape us as we are prepared to be launched into the bigger environment…. We still see the family as a foundational aspect of our lives. In our dreams for a better life, our families will always be part of our hopes and aspirations.”
It is an understatement to assert that our Catholic community has much to learn from the faith and idealism of today’s Filipino youth!