CHRISTâ€™S YOUTH IN VOLUME 17 ISSUE # 1 www.christsyouthinaction.com
The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. (Apostilic Letter, Porta Fidei by Benedict XVI) A student once told me, “I want to believe in something. I envy people who believe.” My years of working with young people have opened my eyes to the deep yearnings of the youth. One of the deepest needs of man is to believe in something. Believing gives you a comfort to an uncertain extent, knowing that in good times or bad, there is something for you to hold on. In good times, you can be thankful for what you’ve been given. And in bad times, it gives you hope that there is a purpose behind what you’re going through. Belief helps us have some kind of focus in life. We end up giving ourselves to something or someone who will give meaning and direction to life. Benedict XVI would want us to be reminded that “door of faith” is always
FOREWORD open. It never closes on anyone. This open door “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). In other words, it is an opportunity for Catholics to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year Catholics have been invited by Benedict XVI to recognize, open it again, walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and experiencing the life and gifts of the Church. We in Christ’s Youth in Action have never stopped in helping the youth recognize that open door of faith in our lives.
Countless of youth have found what to believe in through CYA’s work of evangelization. Let us respond to the invitation of our Pope to enter the open door and bring in as many as we can through the open door...
Raoul Roncal, President The Philippine Foundation of Christ’s Youth in Action
Typhoons Can’t Shatter The Spirit of Service CYA Conducts Relief Ops for ‘Habagat’ Victims by Marc Joseph Alejo No calamity can stop them. This is what the members of CYA proved as they conducted relief operations for ‘Habagat’ victims last August 9-10, 2012. The relief operations were conducted at 4 Barangays across Quezon City and Pasig City. On the move The CYA volunteers divided into teams to respond to the differing relief needs of the 4 barangays. The first day of the relief operations included: contacting CYA members to ensure their safety and inquiring if they need help or supplies; aiding in the procurement of relief goods 2
such as medicines, water and food and repacking of relief goods. After the procurement and repacking the volunteers immediately proceeded to the Parish of the Holy Family where they helped in food distribution and inventory of relief goods and clothing. On the second day the majority of the volunteer work was comprised of repacking and distribution of relief goods in Brgy. Kanyugan in Pasig and Sulyap ng Pag-asa Housing, Brgy. Bagong Silangan, Quezon City. ‘Operation linis’ There were some brothers whose houses were submerged in flood water. The volunteers helped BJ Pareno (CYA - UST) and PK Felongco (CYA-
UST), in cleaning up their respective houses. Speaking on the dangers that night PK said, “Initially, there was no fear. But as the waters kept rising, to the point of reaching our second floor, terror kicked in. Things were different from that time as storms are predictable, monsoons are not. We were very scared as we don’t have any idea of when the rain would stop. All we could do is sit tight and pray,” “I was glad when the brothers and sisters arrived to provide assistance. Our place was a wreck, and CYA helping us clean our humble home was a blessing indeed. My whole family appreciated their help and care.” Felongco concluded.
SEMBREAK IS FOR GOD’S MINISTRY
CYA Holds Annual Mission Trips by Marc Joseph Alejo Sembreak with a dif ference Instead of spending the vacation at home and other places, the Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) members chose to be sent to places and held the annual Mission Trips (MT) last October 23-27. Themed “Planting the Seeds of Faith,” this year’s Mission Trips revolve around the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mt. 13:31-32). Dif ferent activities
The CYAers were sent to different places namely Floridablanca in Pampanga, Gabaldon in Nueva Ecija, Marinduque, Naga City in Bicol and Batangas. The Pampanga Team was able to reach 300 families, consisting of Aeta communities and TIMP community. Activities included Gospel sharing to Aeta kids in two barangays and TIMP youth in San Ramon, food and goods distribution, and house to house Gospel conversation with families in two Aeta communities. In Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, the Gawad
Kalinga site (133 families) was the venue of the team’s program. Brothers’ and Sisters’ Household, community immersion, a youth program, farming, and initiating Gospel conversations were the major activities the Nueva Ecija Team conducted The Marinduque Team launched the Crossroads Retreat and leadership training for the 33 college student leaders of Marinduque Midwest College. The students heard about to love the Lord more and how to lead others as a response to God’s love.
“We expected just to serve, but a two-way process of serving took place” The Naga Team reached 114 students from University of Nueva Caceres and Ateneo de Naga. The activities conducted include the Christian Life Series (CLS), Brothers’ and Sisters’ Household, and Archdiocesan Youth Leaders’ Training (AYLT). A Sisters’ Household program was held in Batangas for leadership and character formation of 17 sisters from
CYA Batangas and three sisters from CYA Manila. How it all went Red Salva (CYA-UST, Pampanga Team) said, “I never expected the mission trip to be like this, it’s so fun! My experience with the Aeta kids was very inspiring, especially when we taught the Aeta kids the sign of the cross. It may be simple but I know that God used me as a tool to share Him to the kids.”
“I know that God used me as a tool to share Him” “We expected just to serve, but a twoway process of serving took place. The families there served us, and we felt like we were served more by them. Witnessing and experiencing such kind of living made us appreciate and acknowledge the beauty and significance of living in simplicity— that God has a different way of blessing and giving them the completion in their lives, that the wealthiest man can ever attain,” stated Krima Valenciano (CYA-UMC, Nueva Ecija Team).
PROFESSION AS Vocation and Mission Teaching is her passion and this is where the Lord has led her.
All the things that CYA taught her paved the way to what and who she is right now: passionately teaching and bringing God to her students.
Mrs. Maila Blanza is a professor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) where she teaches Theology and Philosophy specifically Christian Ethics, and Marriage and Family.
“When I go to class, I try to be sensitive to God’s leading. Sometimes, we do Bible sharing. It helps them experience that the words of the Lord are very life-giving,” Mrs. Blanza said.
by Maress Legaspi
She is the adviser of Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) in UST. She is married to Mr. Jojo Blanza and they have two kids. In the first CYA event that Maila attended, she was amazed at the sharing of a sister who was an achiever. “What was very striking was that among all of her achievements, the thing that mattered most to her was having a relationship with God. And that challenged me,” recalled Mrs. Blanza. After that event, she told herself that she wanted to experience the genuine joy that she noticed in CYA. Eventually, she became a committed member of CYA and after college, she served as a CYA staffer for four years. Mrs Blanza says her years as a staffer the time when her desire for teaching young people grew.
“It was the time when God planted a seed in her heart” 4
men and women. She is filled with joy when she sees her students choose the right path, and continue to do good despite their difficulties, and most especially when they capture the truth that having a relationship with God is important. When asked about her message to the youth, Mrs. Blanza said “I want to encourage them to hold on to their faith and to be steadfast. God can bring something good out of their brokenness but they have to bring this to God and respond to His love.. Allowing and letting God to do this will make a difference in their lives.”
“God can bring something good out of their brokenness but they have to bring this to God and respond to His love” Maila is not satisfied by just giving them information and lectures. Maila meets the students where they are. She finds it a challenge to respond to their concerns “You open wounds and you have to find time to fill the heart of this young person,” she said. Yet, she sees her work as a privilege because she can speak about God and she’s able to touch the lives of young
It is the work of the Lord and the Holy Spirit that enables Mrs. Blanza to keep going. She makes herself available and the Lord uses her and her profession in an extraordinary way. Just like Mrs. Blanza, we should allow God to transform our profession into our vocation and mission, never fearing to speak to others about his love for us.
Joy of stepping up for the Lord
by Fatima Mae Hermo It’s a different joy to accomplish something for yourself, to accomplish something for the kingdom of God. But the grace of God transforms those joys into something transcendent: you and the kingdom of God being one.
“How can someone like me be able to share something about the Lord’s work?” I always thought that doing the work of God would mean being a full-time missionary and giving up everything. So it was an eye-opener for me to know that I can do the work of the Lord through my normal life, in simple ways; and one of these is evangelization. Evangelization is such a very big word. With just a thought of it, I go back to my unworthiness and hide away in shame and fear. How can someone like me, who sins day in and day out, who does not even have a stable relationship with the Lord, be able to share something about the Lord’s work? With all my incompetence and fear, I struggled with that big word. I ran away from it, yet the Lord ran
after me, caught me, and held my hand all the way. On my third year in college, the Lord intensified that desire to share His word. Of course, I fought back and hid behind the pile of uncertainties I have but He was not taking no for an answer. So, grudgingly I said yes to His request, on the condition that He will be with me every step of the way.
“When I take another step towards the Lord, I take another step towards being best person I can be” With that decision, I thought of the people I wanted to invite to CYA and started praying for them everyday. I also scheduled my days such that I would be able to introduce them to the other brothers and sisters as well. As time passed by, academic load became heavier at those times all I could do was pray for them. But the Lord blessed those efforts with one of my friends attending the Christian Life Series. It didn’t matter to me that only one person was able to attend and really get to hear God’s word. At the end of the day, she was able to give more to the Lord and it brought me a sense of joy.
As time progressed, I became comfortable bringing people to Christ so much so that I was beginning to think I was doing the converting and transforming part, not Christ. This was evident on one of my chances to become a discussion group leader and handled someone who already knew alot of things about Christ but was unresponsive to Christ. I struggled with it because I thought all along that I was brought into that group to change that person. I was shocked to know that she was not put there because the Lord needed her to hear things from me. I was placed in that situation to hear things from the Lord. That experience humbled me before the Lord, and I was able to trust His promises and power. The path towards the Lord is never easy and will never be. As I choose to know more and do more for Him, I experience things that transform me to be the person He wants me to be. Those experiences may not be beds of roses, but knowing that they sprung from the love of Christ, I know they are the best for me. When I experience that joy of accomplishing something for God’s kingdom, I sense a certain joy as an accomplishment for myself as well. For when I take another step towards the Lord, I take another step towards the best person I can be, and such is the grace that the Lord lets us able to experience. 5
flashback & An LS Retreat Experience
I am Ali David “Biboy” Leong, currently taking up BS-International Hospitality Management in De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. I went to the LSS retreat; with me are two sheets of paper which was a sharing of mine. I had practiced reading it several times to be sure that I can keep within the 8-minute sharing time limit. I never had the idea that all the guilt, loneliness, depression and disappointments I had would all actually be felt again as I went on with my sharing. Suddenly, I felt the overwhelming love of God and cried, not out of sadness, but out of the striking realization that despite how many times I’ve hurt my parents, they would always welcome me home. The LSS refreshed me spiritually. Every nook and cranny of my heart that needed and longed for God, was filled up once again. When I got home, I decided to tell my dad about my sharing – specifically all the things I have done, that I have kept hidden 6
by Ali David Leong
from him for so long. Again, he reacted with love rather than anger. He was grateful that I told him, rather than being appalled at what I’ve been doing with life. It felt as if a huge, invisible block of cement, I’ve been carrying around for several years have been lifted off my chest. I know have a much closer relationship with my pop. I would like to believe that this is the start of the most radical and significant personal change I will undergo in my life, and I am very much looking forward to it. A glimpse of the past, a testimony
“I’ll be honest with you, brothers and sisters, and say I’ve done a lot of things that I truly regret doing. It was through those actions and occasions of utter disobedience towards my parents, that I hurt them to the core.” “I had a very heated argument with my own dad or “pop” as I would call him at home. I ran away from my home and that was the first time I smoked marijuana.”
“Eventually, I went home. I’ve never felt so guilty, so scared, and so down… I apologized, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said’. He walked towards me and I thought he would hit me but He pulled me closed, hugged me and I could hear him sobbing quietly, saying, ‘I love you. Son, I’m glad you’re home.’” I felt God through my parents’ patience and ever-enduring love for me. “I’ve turned my back away from God so many times already but all the times that I’ve asked for God’s forgiveness He never hesitated to forgive me, and always assured me of His love and care for me. Because of my love for God, I now strive to do better as a person. I’ve lessened and moderated my drinking, I’ve completely stopped smoking drugs. We need God’s help. His grace, the affirmation of his love, and his forgiveness – as all of these strengthen us spiritually we will evolve into the Christian men and women that God wants us to be.”
WHEN TRUSTING IS THE
best OPTION by Marc Joseph Alejo Jarold Franco, Electronics and Communications Engineering student, and committed CYA member from UP Diliman was not interested to join CYA. He first encountered CYA in his dormitory—where two resident assistants were CYA members. “There were lots of things I wanted to do but CYA/any religious activity was not yet part of that. I just accepted the invitation out of courtesy to our resident assistants,” Jarold confesses. “One of those two resident assistants, a CYA member, was also our coach and sports handler. We were joining their monthly basketball events so I got to know many CYAers and I attended their activities,” he adds. “I attended the Christian Life Series (CLS) when I was a freshman and made my public commitment later on. Matagal nila akong hinabolhabol. Thank God they did not give up on me!” Jarold recounts. “After I attended the CLS I found myself wanting to attend more of their events since I learned a lot from their talks and I experienced from my everyday routine. My relationship with the Lord grew deeper than ever. I decided to become active in CYA.” When Jarold was in his junior year, he became part of the Service Council for the CYAUPD Chapter.
“Being part of the Service Council was really a test of my faith in God. The real challenge was how I was going to balance my studies with my service. It was a tough time since I was taking our most difficult subjects including my thesis. Things were beyond my capacity and control. But this was when I got to know God, and myself, even more. Through service my relationship with the brothers and sisters in CYA strengthened too.” says Jarold.
“Tiwala lang” Faith is “the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). When asked where he is now in terms of his faith to the Lord, “Honestly, I still have fear and doubts but all I know is that God is the source of my confidence right now. I have no other options but to put my trust in the Lord,” says Jarold. He then narrates a story about him almost failing to march this semester and how being faithful to God had helped him. “In one of my subjects, 50% of our grade is based on making a machine work. The thing is, your machine must be functioning according to the specifications of our professor or you’ll
get zero and a sure subject failure and no graduation. The project was expected to be done in a month and was divided in three phases.It was as difficult as my thesis. I was in the final week and all of my classmates were finishing the third phase while I couldn’t even finish first phase. I was already convinced that time that I’m not going to make it since I couldn’t even proceed to the second phase.” And he adds, “I started complaining to God. I was so frustrated and about to give up. I just wanted to rest, and I prepared myself for the worst. But the Lord’s message for me that time was to trust Him more. With just enough time, I was able to fix one very crucial part. And boom! Almost everything worked perfectly and smoothly. It’s funny because at the end of the day, I was the first one to submit.” This experience assured Jarold that God is a faithful God. “Even if we are unfaithful, He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). Jarold comes up with a piece of advice: “If you ever find yourself in a very difficult situation, always remember this popular phrase: “Tiwala lang!” It’s a simple phrase but it means a lot to me and I’m sure it will also be to you. God bless you!”
MOVES As smooth as his “swag” is in the dance floor, the youngest of the Escarro brothers, Joseph Matthew Escarro or more popularly known as “Jok,” also has fluid moves in evangelization. He grew up in Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community, and is now in his second year in CYA. In that short span, he has already brought many of his friends to CYA . He may not be showy but like any good action, his efforts to evangelize do not go unnoticed.
“He feels contented and satisfied every time he becomes a tool in bringing someone closer to God.”
Jok’s secret in evangelizing is simply to develop relationships first and be natural. Jok says that evangelizing is fun. He feels contented and satisfied every time he becomes a tool in bringing someone closer to God. What helps him in evangelizing? He draws his inspiration from other personal testimonies that touched his heart and encouraged him more to give more to God. Also, Jok believes that he cannot give anything that he does not have and if he does not have faith in God himself how can he expect others to experience God? He is learning to play the guitar so that he can help his brothers and sisters in worshipping the Lord during prayer meetings. Of course, he is
by Beatrice Anne Malveda
also continuing to share his life with his classmates and friends. God is working in his life by forming him to be a good student who is open to criticisms, to improve weaknesses and maintain strengths. Jok does not just own the dance floor; he is also a key mover in evangelization. He is God’s instrument for us to be inspired more in evangelization. Jok’s story leaves us with a question, “Think of someone you know, a close friend or classmate and then ask yourself: If not you, who else will bring your friend to experience the love of God?
FOOD LEADS TO
Faith by Beatrice Anne Malveda Having the knack for entertaining crowds, many have been moved by Jermax’s lively narrative of how he got into CYA and met the Lord. If you haven’t heard his epic sharing yet, read on. He was a drunkard before, eternally present in drinking nights with his friends. What mattered to him was his vice, drinking nonstop. That was what defined his former life until one room-to-room session of CYA in his Humanities class brought him to attend a CYA event. And how was he convinced? Free food. Oh, the wonders of free food! At that time he thought CYA was “corny” but hearing that food would be served, he made sure that he’d be present.
Jermax was soon enjoying the others parts of attending CYA but it did not come right away; he was not attentive at first. His physical presence did not mean he was learning from talks. He was hearing about Jesus regularly but the free food was more important to him. However, because of his visibility CYA leaders approached him and started helping him to know God more and strengthen what little faith he had. When he started opening himself to CYA, Jermax gradually began to meet the Lord Jesus Christ. At this time he learned to say no to invitations of drinking sessions. He also began to include prayer meetings in his schedule because that was where he was learning about God. He says that because of CYA, he found the light of God. Through CYA, he has begun to serve God and others. He is currently a member of the Service Council and the Chairman of CYA in MAPUA. Jermax says that he serves in CYA because he wants to see everyone acknowledging God’s presence and their need for Him. He wants
those who are lost to how God changed him and how He can change them too. Jermax’s personal testimony is really one for the books. It illustrates that God never gives up on those who are lost. We can all become God’s instruments to love others. Jermax chose this road and he is bringing many people to experience the joy of serving the Lord.
! T U O T U HO
CYAERS SPEAK OUT FOR CHRIST
“Even the strongest ra in and the most un likely pla ce co uld never beat the power of prayer and most especia lly God”
UST - Kevin Vernon Gomez,
“I invited my frien ds to attend a prayer meeting but they wer e not into it. I made a decision to show to them how we live out the way of life in CYA and maybe , someday they will be inspired by it.” - Gabo Escoto, San Be da
miss ion trip “The bravest thing I did was to share my personal testimony in our but know ing in Naga last year. It wasn’t easy for me to spea k in front of others confidence I was a disciple on miss ion I did it. I was able to share and I gained spea king in front of a crowd.” - Bien Carmeli Hipolito, UST invite my “I had an opportunity to ds retreat. friends to the Crossroa lationship I was afraid that our re if I invite might become awkward friends. It them we remained good ore for God really inspired me to do m e will take as it made me feel how H our mission care of us if we just do l odds.” even if we are against al n ima - John Paul Ferreria, UP Dil
“The bravest thing I di d was to share God with my friend who is a non-believe r. I feared she’d reject me bu t she listened and told me to wait and see what wou ld happen in her life.” - Arianne Diesta, UP Diliman
“When my friends shared their challenges in life, I used to just comfort them with ‘Okay lang yan, kaya mo yan’. I feared that if I shared a Bible verse or something Christian they’d just answer back with ‘Ang corny naman’ or have no reaction at all and change the topic. Recently I decided that whatever their reaction, I should speak about God’s promises. In the end, my friends actually appreciated my openness. I should have been fearless long ago. ” - Brigette Cias, UP Diliman 10
l l a w o t o h P 2 1 0 2 CROSSROADS
METRO MANILA: University of the PhilippinesDiliman. Ateneo de Manila University. University of Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern University. Mapua Institute of Technology. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. Polytechnic University of the Philippines. University of the Philippines-Manila, College of St. Benilde.
is a Catholic movement of young men and women with a mission: to evangelize the youth and train leaders for service of the Church. Having personally experienced the love of God and the saving power of Jesus Christ, we want to share our renewed faith with other young people, that they may also know, love and serve the Lord.
LUZON: St. Louis University (Baguio). Holy Angel University (Angeles). Lyceum of Batangas. La Salle-Lipa. Ateneo de Naga. Angeles University Foundation. University of Assumption (Pampanga). University of the Philippines-Los BaĂąos. VISAYAS: University of St. La Salle (Bacolod City). University of Iloilo. St. Paul University (Dumaguete). West Visayas University (Iloilo City). Colegio de la Immaculada Conception Baybay-FCIC. Riverside College (Bacolod). Our Lady of Anunciation (Leyte).
MINDANAO: Mindanao State University-IIT. San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish. Corpus Cristi Parish (Iligan City). Xavier University. Mindanao Polytechnic State College. Liceo de Cagayan. Capitol College (Cagayan de Oro City). University of Immaculate Conception. Ateneo de Davao University. San Isidro College (Malaybalay). Bukidnon State University (Malaybalay City). Central Mindanao University (Musuan). Notre Dame University (General Santos City). St. Vincent Parish (Iligan). San Jose Obrero Parish (Iligan City). Sta. Maria Parish (Zamboanga). Basilan State College. Claret College of Isabela. Camiguin Polytechnic State College. Institute of Agriculture (Catarman). Holy Trinity College (General Santos). GADTMC (Tangub City). Zamboanga Western Mindanao State University. University of Mindanao. San Agustin Institute of Technologies (Valencia). Agusan College (Butuan).
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I WANT TO BE AN ACTION PARTNER!
EDITORIAL BOARD EDITOR-INCHIEF Maria Elena M. Perez EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS Lorna Campos Miracel Juanta Peter Dunlop STAFF Marc Alejo Maress Legaspi Beatrice Malveda
CONTRIBUTORS Fatima Hermo Ali David Leong Maila Blanza Jarold Franco Jermax Hermo Jok Escarro LAYOUT ARTIST Elyse Pilapil