In his message to young people during the closing Mass of World Youth Day in Panama earlier this year, Pope Francis urged the youth from 155 countries to “to stand up…speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.” The Pope further encouraged them to respond to the invitation of Jesus to join Him in His mission today.
This was the same invitation that thousands of young pilgrims from dioceses all over the country responded to as they joined the opening of the National Youth Day 2019 held in Cebu City yesterday.
Drawing an estimated crowd of 12,000 to 15,000 (with 10,000 delegates from the Cebu Archdiocese alone), the gathering started with a prayer walk from the Cebu City Sports Complex to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino, where a mass was held presided by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
“The good news would like to remind us today, especially you, young people: In the journey of life, we do not walk alone. Jesus walks with us,” he said during his homily.
The event is hosted by the Archdiocese of Cebu and will run until Sunday, April 28.
The National Youth Day 2019 is one of the major events happening in Cebu this year. For six days, young pilgrims will gather in Cebu City to engage in various activities that will help them reflect more on the importance of their individual lives, their ministry, and the works they do for their fellowmen. These include talks on life purpose and societal issues, community engagements, and several workshops. On April 27, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabrielle Caccio is expected to join the event to dialogue with the youth pilgrims.
According to Bryner Diaz, National Youth Day media liaison, the delegates were brought to their host parishes and introduced to their host families. These host families, coming from 52 parishes in Metro Cebu, are expected to provide delegates with accommodation, transportation, and food during their stay in the city. Aside from host families, seminaries and convent dormitories are also taking in the delegates.
A part of the the nine-year preparation of the Philippine Catholic Church for the 5th centenary of the arrival of Christianity in the country, this year’s festivities are much anticipated as the year 2019 has been declared the Year of the Youth by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.