“The first journey is about meeting the young people, but not in isolation from their life- I would rather meet them within their social context, in society.” – Pope Francis
An invitation from Bp. Leopoldo Jaucian to “come and see” and be with the young people in his diocese -Bangued Diocese in Abra, Philippines was realized on July 26-27, 2019. Three of us from IFFAsia’s formation team went with much anticipation and eagerness to meet the youth of Bangued Diocese. This was an opportunity to awaken the dreams of the youth and share about IFFAsia’s program.
Meeting the “Beloved, Gifted, Empowered” of Bangued
Each opportunity to sit and listen to the stories of the young people was a chance to encounter and immerse into the realities of the youth of today.
The unexpected encounter with 15 youth leaders of Bangued Parish Youth Ministry turned out to be a wholesome experience. Many of them shared their concerns about the situation of the society they live in, particularly a prevailing culture of competition and comparison. Despite these challenges, they were grateful that they have the Youth Ministry to turn to- it is their place of belonging, which provides them a loving family and a path of growth and acceptance.
75 youth from 24 parishes participated in our main activity, the Vocational Encounter program. The IFFAsia Team opened the space to reflect on two aspects of life – the realities and challenges of today’s world and the ‘crazy dream’ for themselves and for the world. At the end of the program, the youth expressed their appreciation for the time of reflection, sharing and animation. As “Beloved, Gifted, and Empowered” youth, they were also able to recognize that their crazy dreams are the answer to the challenges in this world. As the ‘now of God’ the youth confirmed that they can make a difference in the world today.
The Nurturing Shepherd, The Growing Lamb
This experience of entering into friendship and dialogue with the young was made possible with the invitation and blessing of Bp. Jaucian. His openness and support are an inspiration to us and definitely to the youth in Bangued. For us in IFFAsia, we are looking forward to more encounters to share Fondacio’s treasures with young people out there. We hope for more extraordinary enriching experiences that ignite the spark of change in each person we encounter.
By Imelda Soidi