PDYM holds 1st Diocesan Youth Leaders Retreat

At Our Lady of Antipolo Retreat House, Antipolo City

By:Roden Mansueto, Mhadelle Sison & Fr. Bebot Catuiran

Three days of learning, silence and reflections were given to our young leaders of the diocese of Pasig.

Last January 20-22, 2012, young leaders from different parishes of our diocese gather together for the first ever Diocesan Youth Leaders Retreat at Our Lady of Antipolo Retreat House in Antipolo City.

Retreat for Parish Youth Leaders was planned and designed to counteract the attitude of ningas-kugon from among members of the youth ministry. Hence, the primary goal of this retreat is to inculcate and integrate the gospel values and eventually to become more committed in the youth on-going growth as persons and servant-leaders to fellow youth. This retreat is the result of the PDYM action plan to form and train new leaders in the diocese who are committed, spiritually prepared, and willing to be trained.

On the first day, everyone was excited to meet new friends. Some say: “Ang sarap ng pagkain.  Masarap pala mag-retreat, ready na ang lahat, uupo ka nalang at kakain.”  Simple it may be, call it “baduy”, but this is some of the faces of the youth of today.  “Sabik sa pagkain at pakikinig.”  This is the common experience the youth have. “Ang ibang mga kasama namin sa retreat, pumunta sa retreat na walang pamasahe, but still nakarating sa venue by the help of God.  Ang iba, may problema sa bahay, magulo ang pamilya, but they decided to attend this retreat.  We have different backgrounds and problems but all of these were set aside for a while to be with God and for a better service to our fellow youth.  We believe that in order to serve better our fellow youth, we have to be spiritually prepared.”

After the house rules were discussed, there was a time to settle down so to dispose the journey and longing to be with God.  The facilitator introduced the various ways of sharing, going deeper in self-examination, and giving importance to prayer life of the youth.  This is necessary if the youth want to be committed to service.  One should have a personal connection to God.

Day two morning and afternoon sessions were filled with serious discussions on praying and reflection. With Brother Peter Capistrano and Sister Rica Lavilla as facilitators, they emphasized to the youth to value silence so that one can listen to the voice of God. As they led each one to personal prayer time, all were given a chance to open up and to share one’s own personal problem.  Mostly of the participants valued that moment and as John Irving, a youth leader from Sto. Niño de Taguig Parish, said: “Reflection and sharing time are opportunity to be open, to be at home with myself and to be ready to accept the challenges God puts in my life”.

Day three came with Bro. Marlon Pia sharing about “In search of self” and “Finding God in My Life”.  He challenged the youth to continue searching themselves in the realm of the will of God.  “For us, finding God in our lives is not easy.  We are busy sometimes with the things of the world, and sometimes we take for granted what is essential in life.  We search for happiness, peace and comfort from among our friends and “barkadas”, but they are not at all lasting, until we find out that we should find God if we want a real happiness,” shared by many of the youth.

The Parish Retreat for Youth Leaders was ended with a Eucharistic celebration presided by our Youth Director, Rev. Fr. Joeffrey Brian V. Catuiran. In his homily, he encouraged the youth to continue to help one another in searching and finding God in their lives.  He further emphasized that as the youth  are now all spiritually charged, this is a chance to share experiences about the retreat and be a blessing to all other youth —dapat dala at maramdaman ng ibang kabataan si Kristo sa katauhan ninyo.

After the Mass, Sis. Rhea Lavilla, Youth Coordinator of the diocese of Pasig,  thank everyone who participated and shared their time to this first-ever retreat for youth leaders.  In a special way, she thanked His Excellency, Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D, for his continuous support to the youth, including all the parish priests who have been cooperative and compassionate in sending their youth leaders, and all who gave their financial assistance and prayers during this endeavor.

Truly, it was a memorable experience, to be with the Lord with all fellow youth. As each one hoped that the retreat would not end, instead of staying at the top of Mt. Tabor in the Transfiguration event, the youth have to follow the example of the first disciples by going down the mountaintop and face the realities of life in the places where God wants us to evangelize. There where the youth may find their own little “Jerusalem”, ready and willing to even “suffer and die” so as to give life to the many. Indeed, what a beautiful empowerment of commitment the retreat had impacted the youth life.

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