Growing up in Christ; Keeping the Flame of Love, Hope and Peace Alive

In our quest for building one Christ-centered learning community, we need to consider the generational difference among us youth. There are other factors that challenge our Christ-centered youth ministry from flourishing.

500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines

“Growing up in Christ; Keeping the Flame of Love, Hope and Peace Alive”

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Jay-Ar Ramirez

Assistant Vocation Promoter-Mindanao

 

Where have all the young people gone?

I have always been involved in church activities for as long as I can remember. I started as an acolyte, became a reader, and now I am a youth leader in our Christian Youth Ministry. There are times of some quiet moments where I can see the ups and downs of our journey as young people.

Church elders wonder why there is not only a dwindling in our numbers, but also a diminished quality of service that we render to the ministry. They say that they miss the days when a good number of us enthusiastically come for choir practices, youth apostolate meetings and gatherings, for bible studies and other community outreach services. They also observed that as we transitioned from adolescence to young adulthood, our creativity also lessened. I was always in denial whenever I heard comments like this, and attributed them to old age. But deep inside, I too, see and feel these realities.

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Youth Apostolate celebrating “One Family, One Mission, Heal as One”

Mother of Perpetual Help Sub-Parish, Barra-Igpit, Opol, Misamis Oriental

In our quest for building one Christ-centered learning community, we need to consider the generational difference among us youth. There are other factors that challenge our Christ-centered youth ministry from flourishing. Navigating the complexities of life coupled with COVID-19 pandemic is quite tough. There are those among us who have to live with abused and differently-abled family members, and have to deal with conflicts between parents. Because of the pandemic, the present reality includes regulated mobility among minors, food shortage at home and online education despite the lack of access to gadgets or the internet.  To deal with all of these simultaneously, is enough for someone to go off the rails.

Despite everything, our generation is fortunate to have a Holy Father who is assertive in his calls to living out the Gospel values in our world today, such as his letters, “Laudato Si’ and “Fratelli Tutti.” Pope Francis understands where we are at when he says: “The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith.” And when he addresses us with all humility, “And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.

We are also blessed to have good priests as our shepherds, who allow us to make mistakes and learn from them; who provide us with opportunities but also think of others who may not have access to it; and who invest in our talents and skills so we can shine, regardless of our limitations.

We are not machines; we are human beings. Although we are young, we invest, create, share, and build a learning community where the youth can be united as one. We grow and live by Christ’s teachings with the help of our unwavering faith. We recognize that the goals of the different ministries in the Church are irrelevant when they are disconnected from real-life cases.

In this year’s 500 years celebration of Christianity in the country, I pray for a more holistic, open, and enabling Church environment for everyone. Jesus in one of His teachings cited that unless you take the lowly position of a child, you will never enter the kingdom of God. A nurturing learning community of young believers is what our Church elders and the institution aspire to have. For this to happen, we, the young generation, need everyone’s accompaniment and guidance. Please help us discover God and His goodness so we can develop our full potential as human beings.

As a young member of the Church, I pray that the hearts of all young people will be inflamed with living faith to serve God with heart and soul.

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Jay-Ar Ramirez (in blue polo shirt) with the youth in their costume in celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño, at Mother of Perpetual Help Sub-Parish Barra-Igpit, Misamis Oriental