Papal nuncio leads pilgrimage to Mount Samat

Papal nuncio leads pilgrimage to Mount Samat
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Church opens Year of the Youth
Church opens Year of the Youth

More than 28,000 pilgrims join this year’s Mount Samat Pilgrimage in Bataan. ROY LAGARDE

By CBCP News

December 3, 2018

Manila, Philippines

The Papal nuncio the the Philippines has led thousands of young pilgrims to the historic Mount Samat in Bataan province over the weekend.

It was Archbishop Gabriele Caccia’s second visit to the Balanga diocese but his first time to join the pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage is an annual event of the diocese since 2004 and is attended by thousands of young people.

Pilgrims walked seven kilometers from the foot of Mt. Samat to the World War II monument and the white Memorial Cross built in memory of the soldiers who fought and lost their lives in the Battle of Bataan.

Joined by Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos and local officials, the nuncio walked more than a kilometer to the shrine where he presided the Mass.

Welcoming the nuncio and the pilgrims, Santos said: “Always remember that the Church in Bataan is your home and will always be open for all of you.”

The event also highlighted the opening of the Year of the Youth that coincided with the 9th Central Luzon Youth Pilgrimage which was hosted by the diocese of Balanga from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.

In his homily, Caccia encouraged young people to spread the Gospel of mercy and compassion.

This year of the youth, he said young people are reminded that they too are called to evangelize.

“Each of us is like a candle. When we go back, wherever we are, we have to bring this light and the joy of the Gospel to others,” he said.

Fr. Noel Nuguid, Youth Director of the Diocese of Balanga, said an estimated 28,000 young people joined the pilgrimage the entire day and about 15,000 of them stayed on for the Mass.