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Youth Conference for Life held in Manila

Participants in the Youth Conference for Life (YCL) held in Manila, Philippines.

Under the banner of the Mary Help of Christians Crusade, a member of the Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO) organized the 2024 Youth Conference for Life (YCL) on March 24.

In her welcome address, Sister Ma. Teresa Ouano, councilor for the mission-apostolate of LIHM, said, “Today is Palm Sunday. St. John Paul II chose Palm Sunday as the first World Youth Day back in 1984, highlighting the significant role that young people played in greeting Jesus when he entered Jerusalem.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Adamson University, Manila, for generously offering the MHCC the complimentary use of their theater as the venue for the YCL,” the nun said.

“Ever since, the church has continued to look to young people on Palm Sunday and encourage them to take up the cross of Jesus and to follow him,” she added.  

The YCL is a testament to the important role that young people play in the church and society, a role that they continue to uphold today.

“Let us bear in our hearts Jesus as he entered Jerusalem; he was fully alive in his purpose, faithful to his mission, and his teachings have been fruitful,” Sister Ouano said.

Through the conference, the organizers aimed to inspire the same qualities in youth.

“We aspire to encourage one another to live our lives fully, remain faithful to our values, and strive to make a positive, fruitful impact on those whom we meet,” the nun explained.

“Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding what works for you and embracing your path to being fully alive, faithful, and fruitful,” she said.

The 2024 Youth Conference for Life (YCL) is the first such conference after the pandemic. The previous one was in Cebu, Central Philippines, in 2019.

At the outset, participants recited the Holy Rosary with a tableau after the registration.

Prof. Mary Joy D. Enriquez, a mental health advocate, spoke on “Student Empowerment: Psychological and Spiritual Nurturing.”

She explained how faith and religion can influence one’s personal and communal relationships.

Healthy behavior and lifestyle, social support, belief systems, cognitive frameworks, religious practices, spiritual direction, and idioms to express are results of religion that influence mental health.

In the second talk, a priest explained the seven deadly sins, taking into account the Judeo-Christian tradition. The seven capital sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

Participants then presented skits that highlighted the theme. They adored and prayed ardently during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The event ended with the Eucharist.

As many as 10 priests were available for the sacrament of reconciliation. Besides hearing the confessions, some priests volunteered for the counseling.

Over 400 youth from different parts of the country participated in the conference.

Many participants found the conference interesting and enriching.

“The conference enabled me a lot, and my relationship with God became stronger. I am happy that I attended it,” said Eloisa Jem Marasigan, a delegate.

Another participant, Vincent Esquibel Castillo, said, “I learned a lot about spiritual and mental health. I will remember this Palm Sunday in my life.”

The event was organized through the shared responsibility, collaboration, and efforts of Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (LIHM), Oblate Apostles of the Two Hearts (OATH), Mary Help of Christians Crusade (MHCC), and Core Group of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CGIHM).

It ended with the Holy Mass presided over by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Youth Executive Secretary Fr. Ramon Jade Licuanan.


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