Priest’s hope: youth to become ‘catalysts of change’
National Youth Day (NYD 2017) Grand Marian Procession in Zamboanga City. RON RAMOS
ZAMBOANGA City – Sharing his hopes on the sidelines of the ongoing National Youth Day (NYD) 2017 in this city, a priest said young people, particularly NYD pilgrims could rise up to the challenges facing the Philippines at present.
“We hope that [the NYD pilgrims] become catalysts of change, since our country is facing problems,” said Fr. Marciano Villagracia, Archdiocese of Zamboanga media director, in an interview with CBCPNews.
According to the priest, the young people can address “a lot of things [that] need to be done.” Villagracia noted, however, that these things “[start] from them and with them.”
‘God is here’
He also noted God’s closeness to the youth as they attend the youth event in this city.
“God is here, God is also here, God is everywhere, God is also in Zamboanga despite the fact that we encounter problems, He is near,” said Villagracia.
Looking forward to the fruits of the event, the media director said “when [the NYD pilgrims] go back to their respective areas, they can say that God is also in Zamboanga City, the highlight of NYD is that they will encounter Jesus here.”
Despite apprehension about the general safety in Mindanao, 2,052 delegates are attending the NYD.
Ambassadors of Zamboanga
The Archdiocesan Media Director also expressed hopes that even with prevailing reservations because of security, the event will be successful in producing young “ambassadors of Zamboanga.”
“There was an apprehension in the delegates, [regarding] security aspect and they [had] this fear, but we hope, through their NYD experience in Zamboanga, with the grace of God, they can experience the peace and harmony here and be ambassadors of Zamboanga City,” said Villagracia.
Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth chairman, also stressed his belief in the energy of the young people during his homily, saying: “To the young people of Zamboanga, with your vigor and love, may Mary shine through you.”
Bishop Jaucian led the Eucharistic celebration that concluded the second day of the NYD program.
Other activities held within the day were plenary talks in various festival sites, the NYD Run (immersion type of activities) and a grand Eucharistic procession. CBCPNews