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Posts Tagged ‘Year of the Youth’

Circular 2019-1: Young Jesus with the Young

YOUNG JESUS WITH THE YOUNG

Pastoral Letter for the 2019 Year of the Youth in the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan looking forward to the 100th anniversary of the Diocese of Lingayen in 2028

My dear people of God:

We all need companions all the time. In infancy and childhood, from puberty to adulthood, in our career paths and life choices, in sickness unto our deathbed–we all need to be accompanied. Life would be impossible if we went through it alone. The Year 2019 is TABIN Year for the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan. As Catholic Philippines observes 2019 as Year of the Youth looking forward to the five hundredth anniversary of the first baptism and first Mass in the Philippines, we in Lingayen Dagupan offer to our youth the Church as companion, kalakbay. TABIN.

Walking TOGETHER

It happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. (Luke 24:15-16)

In this walking together with the youth, it is important to renew our appreciation for three very important interlinked institutions—the family, the school and the parish. The youth must be given avenues to participate in the mission of evangelization in the parish. It has been said that the face of God is mercy. Today we say that at the forefront of the Church of mercy are the faces of the young. Let us give the Church a young face. Let us give the youth a space to be heard because true love listens. The first step to walking with the youth is listening to them.

There is a healthy kind of restlessness among the youth which we cannot just dismiss in the parishes, schools and families. This restlessness can inject greater dynamism to our parishes that oftentimes favor the status quo more than the missionary passion. I encourage our priests and educators, parents and guardians to allow the youth to express this creative restlessness with an encouraging welcome and a respectful accompaniment. Oftentimes, we Church elders engender impatience among the youth because of our slow, domineering and dragging pastoral approaches.

In 2019, we dream of the Church in Lingayen Dagupan as young Jesus among the young.

Learning TOGETHER

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. (Luke 24:27)

In 2018, I invite my fellow pastors and parents to adopt an attitude of learning WITH the youth and FROM the youth. When the educated and the academically titled start to recognize that Jesus is the only lesson we need to learn and the only weapon we have against evil, then we have started the journey of renewal. Some youth are students but all youth are our teachers. They teach us new zeal and missionary passion. The questions that young people ask us priests challenge us to be better. When the young criticize us priests, I encourage you my brother priests to listen to their young voices as the voice of Christ himself calling us to conversion and renewal. All young people are in God’s heart even if some of them do not share our visions of life. An attitude of humility and willingness to listen will open new avenues of renewal for us.

Our youth need to teach us the power of the cyberspace digital world while we their elders in turn must accompany them in this daily reality of their young lives. The youth can be at the forefront of using the power of the worldwide web to spread true information, to promote socio-political engagement according to the Gospel values and to be good citizens of the nation. In entering cyberspace with the young, we their elders can protect them from the dark web of isolation, manipulation, exploitation, cyberbullying and pornography.

Young Jesus with the young teaching the teachers!

Proclaiming TOGETHER

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24: 35)

The compass of youth ministry is a missionary spirit. We envision 2019 as year of young Jesus with the young telling the world of His love. Youth ministry cannot be confined to a handful of youth in the parish hall or the campus ministry office. We must serve and teach those who do not feel welcome in the Church.

Let us be reminded that people turn to the Lord not because of eloquent preaching but through inspiring life examples. Saint Paul VI put it most eloquently “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. It is primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world (EV,41).

The Church has been severely hurt and wounded by the sins of her priests against the youth and against the Church. Despite the limitations of us their elders in the Church, we have not been lacking in heroic young leaders in our parishes and schools who serve without pay or recognition. We their spiritual shepherds are humbled by the sterling enthusiastic love of our youth.

2019 Year of the Lord

Every day is the Lord’s. All ages and seasons belong to Him. Every year is year of the Lord. In celebrating 2019 as Tabin Year of the Youth, may we recognize in the youth the face of the Lord.

To the parents, teachers and priests: The young Jesus is among the young. Let the young teach us as we teach them. Let the young show us the face of Jesus as we keep on trying to love them like Jesus.

To the young: Show us Jesus and be our guide to see Him more clearly, to love Him more dearly, to follow Him more nearly.

Amen.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, January 1, 2019

+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

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