As Noehl and I were beginning our transition from serving in SFC to CFC, we were being encouraged to embrace service as youth coordinators. But we weren't so keen on it for a number reasons. However, we now know that serving the youth is definitely part of God's plan for us.
Our Parish Priest, Fr. Neil Tacbas, spoke to Noehl before his service at a Sunday mass (as a lay minister) and he could only say yes before the first few notes of the entrance hymn began to play. After the very same mass, Fr. Neil spoke to me in front of the altar and told me that Noehl had already agreed to handle the Parish Youth Ministry (PYM). I could only respond with a smile for I knew that I had just been affirmed of God's message that the youth are the future of the church. Fr. Neil had stated this in his homily since it was the feast of Sto. Niño. Ironies of ironies, YFC is under PYM. Si Lord talaga!
We began our journey by meeting with Fr. Neil, Lem (PYM president) and Gab (Knights of the Altar president). Our very good friends Mike and Iya, the newly appointed KOA coordinators, were also at the meeting. The things to do were daunting, but we knew that God had equipped us for this. Aside from our service with the youth in Prayer Mountain, we got to work with the PYM of San Antonio de Padua a few years back and still had contact with them. Thanks, Lord!
Our official number of PYM members was 7. Yes, seven out of the thousands of youth in our parish. But we were up to the challenge. We had pep talks and bonded as much as we could with them before our official recruitment date, March 27, 2011. We distributed flyers after the masses at the Shrine and Filinvest Chapel inviting the youth (and their parents) to attend the PYM Orientation on April 3. We also put up posters in the different villages.
On April 3, the good Lord brought us 36 PYM members (old and new). Praise God! At the launching of our monthly 2nd Sunday Youth Assembly the week after, we welcomed additional members. The following Saturday we began choir practice with Lem at the helm. The training of our animators also began thanks to the PYM of San Antonio.
The Holy Week has allowed the PYM members to immerse themselves in the activities of the Parish. I hate to admit it, but it was just this year that I really participated in any Parish activity for Holy Week. I am truly humbled by the service that our youth unselfishly offer.
This coming Friday, April 29, we will be launching our 4th Friday Youth Assembly. We aim for it to be a fun night out with fellow youth members getting to know more about service in the Church and God. We pray for a good attendance and a Spirit-filled night.
It is actually a very good year to be serving with the youth, since CBCP has declared 2011 as the Year of the Filipino Youth. Si Lord talaga! Gets na po namin! Just please grant us the grace (and the strength) to do Your will with these youth that you have blessed us with. Amen.