Insights into Filipino youth today
One beautiful outcome of the 2018 CBCP-sponsored youth conference was “An Open Letter of the Filipino Youth to the Catholic Church in the Philippines.” The document provides pivotal insights into today’s youth, their heartfelt concerns, as well as orientations for youth ministry.
Social relationships. In their “Open Letter” Filipino youth noted: “We value our relationships as much as our families—at times even more. We want to belong, more than anything. Hence, we seek a community that empowers, encourages, and challenges us. Friends and our social relationships are very important…. These people not only journey with us and encourage us, but also form and influence us.”
Yet, the youth honestly admit that at times they “still feel left out.” “We still sense that we do not belong. We also do not see enough opportunities to actively participate. Now, more than ever, we are ready to be trusted as partners in shaping our country and our Church.”
Social concerns. The young noted their deep concerns regarding health, education, and environment. They acknowledged “the need to be healthy. However, in many places, young people do not receive enough nutrition and the needed medical attention. Depression and suicide are prevalent issues being discussed by the young and about the young. Substance abuse, other forms of addiction, and HIV/AIDS also gravely affect our fellow youth.”
In reference to the environment, the young people noted: “We dream of a safe and sustainable world to live in. We value Mother Earth and all of God’s creation. We understand the importance of caring for our common home.”
Social challenges. Living in the contemporary world presents a variety of challenges for Filipino youth. As the young themselves note, they have concerns regarding economic, political and cultural realities. “Our national economy is said to be growing at its potential.” Yet, “many of us still experience difficulty in finding stable jobs to keep our future secure; others even fall victim to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation…. We dream of a more inclusive economy that provides equal opportunities to people regardless of age and gender.”
In reference to politics, “we seek honest and authentic leaders who stand for truth, justice and integrity. We need credible leaders we can count on and trust to lead and make moral decisions for the good of our country and its people. In the same way, we feel that we too can be leaders ourselves in various ways.”
Seeking meaning in life. Continuing to paint their “self-portrait” the Filipino youth speak openly about their values, noting that they “find meaning in the reality of the family.” “Dreams of prosperity emerge as we aspire to improve the plight of our families. However, aside from laboring for our parents and families, we also acknowledge our need to be devoted in discerning our vocation.” We yearn for people in authority whom we can look up to as regards integrity and credibility, as well as look to for guidance and accompaniment.”
“It is our ultimate hope that as we seek our purpose, we are given much life…. We wish to be given more opportunities to share ourselves: not just with and for our families, but with and for the rest of the community, our country, and the Church.” As fellow Catholics, we deeply appreciate the sincere and honest searchings of today’s youth!