RAY-Luzon Encounter: Youth as Blessed, Gifted, and Empowered
Antipolo City, RIZAL—To prepare the youth for the Feast of St. Ezekiel Moreno, the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) in Luzon communities were gathered together in St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate–Recoletos (SEMoNoRe) on August 11, 2019 to have a youth encounter. The theme of this year’s youth encounter was “Kabataang Rekoleto: Tinawag sa Iisang Misyon Kasama si San Ezekiel Moreno Minahal, Pinagpala, Pinalakas”.
There were 84 delegates from five OAR communities in Luzon: San Sebastian Basilica (Manila), San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish (Quezon City), Our Lady of Consolation Parish (Mira-Nila Homes, Quezon City), St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate–Recoletos (Antipolo), and San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite (Cavite City).
This youth encounter commenced with the celebration of the Holy Mass held in the Chapel of St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate–Recoletos and followed by registration and breakfast.
The delegates were formally welcomed by the Vice-Prior of SEMoNoRe, Fray Emeterio Buñao, OAR. In his address, he said, “This youth encounter is organized with the hope that one of the RAY will become an Augustinian Recollects in the future“. Moreover, he conveyed that this youth encounter was organized as a concrete response to the Church’s call to let the young people feel and experience the sense of belongingness to a community, the Church, and admonished them to follow the footsteps of St. Ezekiel Moreno in submitting oneself to the service of the Church. In this, the Augustinian spirituality is very conducive for RAY’s formation.
In the morning, Ms. Ma. Nabel N. Belonio, the leader of the Youth Ministry of the Diocese of Pasig, gave a talk integrated with some activities. She focused on the topic about St. Ezekiel Moreno and the Year of the Youth as beloved, gifted, and empowered. She addressed, “You should not lose hope in love. Instead, you should take courage, because amidst the storms of life God stands as a dwelling place where everyone can have grip as the source of strength.”
The talk was concluded by a captivating line quoted from the words of St. John Paul II, “The youth are the catalyst of change in the church for they are the now of the church, whom are making change in the future.” Finally, she gave some guide questions to be reflected and shared in the group sharing activity.
In the afternoon, group dynamic activities ensued and followed by presentations from participating communities to the delight of everyone present. Fray Dexter Palagtiosa, OAR, RAY National Coordinator and Head of the Section for Youth, took time to inform the young, saying that “the RAY is enforced, for it is a way of life in which commitment serves as the very essential element. That is the reason why there would be lots of qualifications to be complied in becoming a full-fledged RAY member“.
After presenting a long list of the requirements and qualifications in becoming a full-fledged RAY member, the praise and worship started followed by the Closing Liturgy and Mission Sending. To close the day’s gathering, the participants sang the song “Tell the world of His love” to proclaim their mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world as beloved, gifted, and empowered.