NYD Zamboanga, part of Marawi crisis healing
Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Dela Cruz opens National Youth Day 2017 with a holy Mass at the Zamboanga Cathedral, Nov. 6, 2017 RON RAMOS
ZAMBOANGA City – Officially opening on Nov. 6 with thousands of delegates from all over the Philippines, the National Youth Day being held in this city could be part of Mindanao’s healing process after the Marawi siege.
“[Now] locals will feel that this will be a part of the continuing healing from the 2013 Zamoboanga siege. The coming of NYD delegations is a big boost to help raise the confidence and trust of the people of Zamboanga,” said Fr. Conegundo Garganta, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth executive secretary in an interview.
The priest also emphasized the importance of the considerable number of attendees because it “shows solidarity despite the apprehensions to send young people to Zamboanga.”
“We have a total of 2,052 delegates [who]are in Zamboanga as we speak, these are all delegations from different diocese and members of the Federation of National Youth Organizations,” National Youth Day 2017 executive secretary, Mark Anthony Saavedra, announced in a press conference.
Saavedra further explained some factors that led to fewer attendees than expected, such as inclement weather, local disputes or issues and unique reasons, specifically the scamming of an entire delegation that involved airline tickets.
“The Dioceses of Malolos and Iba, Zambales bought tickets [through] a certain third party agent. Malolos had around 58 [delegates] and Iba Zambales had 23 – and all of them were scammed by this travel agent,” he explained.
“Fortunately, both dioceses would still send some delegates, unfortunately like for Malolos it would now decrease to 22, because that’s the only number their diocese can accommdate while Iba Zambales can stil send 11 out of the 23,” added Saavedra.
Signaling the start of the National Youth Day program, Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Dela Cruz celebrated a holy Mass, which was attended by pilgrims, public officials, and locals.
In his homily, the prelate emphasized that through the intercession of Mother Mary the faithful “are reminded of God’s mighty deeds and holiness.”
“Because of the intercession of our Mother, we are reminded that the Mighty continues to do mighty things for us, and holy is His name,” said Dela Cruz.
Fr. Noli Fransisco, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, read Pope Francis’ message for the National Youth Day where the Holy Father said he “trusts that the Filipino young people will grow bigger in faith and stronger in love and become missionary disciples.”
A grand opening parade by the pilgrims going to the Mayor Vitaliano Agan Coliseum followed by the opening program concluded the first day. CBCPNews