CEBU CITY – The Archdiocese of Cebu is elated by the news that 1,912 more youth pilgrims have signified interest in joining the National Youth Day 2019 celebration on April 23-28, which is now exceeding its total target of 10,000.
This was revealed by Rev. Fr. Joselito “Batitoy” Gutierrez, a member of the steering committee, during his daily gospel sharing via social media, “Pan de Soul”.
With 15 more days to go before the opening rites, he said the organizers were able to register more pilgrims from the original 10,000 target last month.
“Too much excitement is already in the air around the Archdiocese of Cebu, particularly sa atong mga kabatan-onan nga nahisakop sa district 1, 2, and 7 diin nahimutang and siyam ka festival sites (to our youth who are from district 1, 2, and 7 where the nine festival sites belong),” Gutierrez said.
The 52 parishes that pledged to receive participants of the event are also eager to conduct parish-based activities for the youth.
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, which pledged to take on 150 delegates, has been busy preparing for events, said Monsignor Ruben Labajo, parish priest of the archdiocese’s main parish.
Labajo said the cathedral has been conducting meetings with foster parents, who enlisted with the parish to adopt youth pilgrims from different places in the country.
“Foster parents will feed the pilgrims under their care. They see to it that their foster children are asleep in the night and to transport them from their foster homes to the parish, and we in the parish will send them (youth delegates) to assigned festival sites,” Labajo told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.
The cathedral will allow the delegates to experience a one-day immersion into “the life in the parish” by teaching them such tasks as making dough and baking bread, he said.
The youth, Labajo added, will also experience taking care of street children through the Archdiocese’s program called “Sakyanan sa Kaluoy” (Oasis of Mercy). A bus with different amenities like a shower room and television is set to be stationed in the cathedral.
The delegates will gather street children and allow them to take a shower, feed them and make them watch movies before teaching them catechism.
Sakyanan sa Kaluoy is an off-shoot of the “Abtanan sa Kaluoy” project of Archbishop Jose Palma and managed by Rev. Fr. Carmelo Diola. The project now has a building beside the St. Joseph the Patriarch Parish in Mabolo, built through the effort of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
Labajo said they are ensuring the security of the delegates visiting the 52 parish churches as pilgrims, through coordination with village officials and the local police. (PNA)