Dear Young People of the Philippines:
Announcement of the Pope’s Coming: Pope John Paul made an announcement last August 15, 1993 in Denver, Colorado, which was a great and pleasant surprise to us Filipinos. He said: “Ang susunod na paglalakbay ng mga kabataan ay gagawin sa Maynila sa 1995. Ang mga kabataan ng Pilipinas ay maghahanda pang-espirituwal para sa pagdiriwang.” In a follow-up statement, he said, “This time it is for you, the young people of the Philippines, to prepare a welcome for so many friends from all over the world.”
Reason for His Coming: The Pope is coming to the Philippines! And he will come especially for you, the young!
He comes because he believes in you. He sees the Church in you. He knows that the Church has so much to tell you, and you have so much to share with the Church.
Indeed, by your vast numbers alone, you are important to the Church. But even more than numbers, you have the idealism, the energy, the daring, the generosity and restless searching so characteristic of youth. And above all, Christ loves you, and looks at you with love just as He looked at the young man in the gospel and loved him.
The Pope, Christ’s vicar on earth, looks upon you with that same love of Christ. And he wants to give you all, as you gather for the 10th World Youth Day, the energizing words of Christ: “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.” (Jn. 20:21)
Christ Calls the Young to Evangelize: Dear Young People, Christ wants you — wants us all — to receive the Good News. You have received it. But Christ wants more from you. He wants you to carry the Good News in your minds, in your hearts, in your hands — in a word, in your lives. And he wants you to proclaim it with your lips, so that you become evangelizers yourselves, especially of your fellow youth. You are called not to a life of self-indulgence, or of self-centeredness. You are called to Christ, and to bring Him to other young people who have not yet accepted Him. Declare your firm commitment to Christ and the Church. Commit yourselves to evangelize your society and the whole world. In places where you live, direct your energy towards integral social transformation, as the Pope encourages you: “With a view to the approaching third millennium, you young people are entrusted in a special way with the task of becoming communicators of hope and workers for peace, in a world that is in ever greater need of credible witnesses and messengers consistent with His message” (Message for WYD ’95, 21 Nov. 1993) You are called to join in the new evangelization.
World Youth Day, a Journey of Faith: This call is an invitation to join in the World Youth Day journey of faith which has already travelled several significant steps:
In Rome (1985), the Pope challenged you to carry the cross along the roads of the world;
In Buenos Aires (1987), he asked for your commitment to build a civilization of love;
In Santiago de Compostela (1989), he invited you to come closer to Christ;
In Czestochowa (1991), he made you recognize one another as brothers and sisters in Christ;
In Denver (1993), he urged you to find fullness of life in Christ.
Now in this journey is about to reach us in Manila in January 1995. The Pope announces: “… our pilgrimage continues. This time the stage is in Manila, which, on the vast continent of Asia, will be the crossroads for the Xth World Youth Day.”
Preparing the Journey: You must now prepare to join in this journey of faith. Foremost, prepare yourselves spiritually through prayer and reflection on themes contained in the Holy Father’s message to the youth, especially of last 21 November 1993. Make them the topics of your spiritual retreats and formation seminars, your regional gatherings and conferences.
Prepare yourselves by a program of service activities on behalf of the Church and of the society which can be offered symbolically in the presentation of gifts during the concluding Eucharist of World Youth Day. Your personal sacrifices and spiritual offerings in solidarity with the poor and hungry will deepen the meaning of your preparation.
Organize regional, diocesan and parochial youth days as a means of emphasizing the faith and fervor and goodness of so many young people as they prepare to welcome the Holy Father and the young people of the world.
Your resourcefulness and generosity will certainly help you to find other ways of preparing for the coming World Youth Day ’95. Through activities such as these, we are certain you will grow in greater awareness of your Christian dignity and potentials, and in the consciousness of the mission entrusted to you by Christ.
Having prepared yourselves to join this journey. World Youth Day ’95 will be a day of grace. But its lasting effect in you will depend on the thoroughness and seriousness of your preparation for it.
Bishops and Priests are With You in this Journey: We, your pastors, trust in all your capabilities and in your generosity. With your parents we shall always be beside you to assist you to make World Youth Day ’95, your day, the day of the Church in the Philippines, the day of the youth of all the world, and above all, the day of Christ.
In union with the Holy Father, we, too, ask for Mary’s assistance. To Mary, the Mother of the Church, we entrust the preparation and celebration of the next World Youth Day. May she share with us the secret of how to welcome her Son into our lives, doing whatever He tells us.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
(Sgd.)+CARMELO D.F. MORELOS, D.D.
Bishop of Butuan
January 30, 1994
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