Youth told: Obey Pope, shun ‘couch potato’ life

Youth told: Obey Pope, shun ‘couch potato’ life
Fr. John Paul Menchavez, chaplain of PAREF-Southridge School for Boys

PARANAQUE – As the official summer period begins for many schools, a priest encouraged young people to take a hint from Pope Francis and spend their free time productively.

“The Pope, in his message for World Youth Day 2017, clearly stated that our age does not need young people who are ‘couch potatoes’, said Fr. John Paul Menchavez, chaplain of PAREF-Southridge School for Boys in an interview with CBCPNews.

“The Pope easily connects with the youth. In fact, each of those who participated in the World Youth Day in Krakow I’ve talked with recently said that they felt responsible when the Pope challenged anew young people not to be ‘couch potatoes’.

Idealism of young people

“Aside from the reminder to combat the ‘couch potato’ tendency,” Menchavez noted, “I think that the Holy Father used a good phrase which is actually one of the great concerns of so many young people about these days: ‘remaining connected’.”

“It’s not just checking the latest in the social media, Instagram, or Snapchat. It’s about a sense of fulfillment, deepening of friendships, and enriching one’s experience outside the classroom,” explained the priest.

According to the school chaplain, “Many young people are bored at this time of year and they need to be guided on what real fun is all about.”

Menchavez, who has journeyed with young people for three years as school chaplain and two as chaplain of study centers, said he recognizes that the idealism of “our young people is still there and they all want a good future.”

Use C.O.M.B.S.

Using the mnemonic “C.O.M.B.S”, the priest admonished young people to work on ways to ward off laziness by always having something concrete to do. He said: “Among the things we use for good grooming, we have “C.O.M.B.S.”:
• Chores that will occupy and help them feel part of a home;
• Outdoor activities that will make them appreciate the beauty of real life, not only the digital world;
• Musical instruments they will learn or master;
• Books they will read, to activate their creative potency;
• Sports in which they will be trained.

Serve the parish

The priest also said the Year of the Parish celebration is a good reason to use their free time this summer by serving in the parish or community and by strengthening their sacramental life.

“This summer, you have time in your hands. You can definitely have time to go to the weekday Masses and participate in the other activities in the parish. Don’t hesitate. Once you begin this with regularity, I guarantee that you will discover and be inspired to contribute to what your parish or your community needs now,” added Mechavez.

“God waits for us to reconcile us to Himself and his Church in the sacrament of Confession. Every Sunday, God waits for you and me to be with his Church in the holy Mass.” CBCPNews