N – Y – D! AHA! AHA!
By: Neil Bryan L. Lesaca. C.Ss.R.
On November 11- 15, 2015, some members of the Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM) participated in the National Youth Day 2015 (NYD). It was the first time that our youth participated in the NYD as an organization (RYM). Thirty-nine delegates composed of youth members, youth coordinators and youth directors both from Province of Cebu and Vice-province of Manila attended.
As participants of the NYD, they give their hearts in the cheering and dancing during the opening activity. They also opened themselves in the small group sharing. They connected with other delegates from different dioceses. They share their stories and their smiles.
But there is one unique aspect that the RYM brought in the NYD. It’s the members’ experience and zeal for the mission. In the various small groups sharing, they shared their own experience of the mission. In a way, it allowed other delegates to be interested in the mission. They are open to the idea of being of service to others.
In different occasions, youth delegates from other dioceses and archdioceses were asking how they can join our missions. There was even an invitation from a priest delegate to do a youth mission in his parish.
But it is not only through group sharing the RYM delegates were able to share their missionary dynamism. They showed it best through there integration with their foster families. They spend quality time with their foster families despite the tight schedule of the NYD. And aside from integration, they were also bringing the Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help as a token of appreciation not just to the foster families but also the host parish and host archdiocese. In their own simple ways, the RYM delegates were true to the call of “to make her known.”
The title of this article is part of the cheer that was thought during the NYD (National Youth Day). And it captures the NYD experience. At first look, NYD could be seen as an event of series of youth activities. It is the usual activities of cheering, dancing, small group sharing, prayer and inputs. These activities aimed to inspire the youth pilgrims and youth ministers in their journey. It also aimed to remind the youth of their responsibilities and role in the society and in the Church.
But on a second look, NYD is more than an event. It is also an opportune time for the participants to be in touch with their youthful spirit. NYD also offers the venue to be aware of the “Aha! Aha!” experience.
For the youth pilgrims, it was a time to affirm their journey. It is accepting that the path of being pure in heart is not easy but not impossible. It is both accepting the difficulties they face in the journey and accepting the grace of God working within them. This grace is their source of strength. That even with the problems that the youth is facing, they still have the energy to continue in life.
For the youth ministers, it was not only a time of chaperoning their youth, but it was also an event of reaffirming their roles, motivations and responsibilities in guiding the youth to grow in age, wisdom and grace.
Yes, NYD was an event last November 11 to 15, 2015. But for the participants, it was a moment of Aha! Aha! Because they have experienced God’s presence.