Recoletos de Los Arcos Holds First- Ever Summer Youth Day
PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur–San Nicholas de Tolentino Mission Station held its first Summer Youth Day (SYD) in Los Arcos, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. With the theme: Mary Arose And Went With Haste (Luke 1:39), this was a three-day event (August 1-3) that had a total of ninety-one participants, coming from the different area chapels. The debut of SYD also goes hand in hand with the anniversary of the arrival of the pioneering Recollect missionaries in Los Arcos.
The youth is one of the pastoral priorities of the Church. They have a key role in the building up of the Body of Christ. Therefore, the goal of SYD is to empower, accompany and educate them of their mission. All activities were intended to be formative, which includes praying, input-giving, faith sharing, and team building.
In the morning, San Nicholas de Tolentino Mission Station welcomed the arrival of delegates for registration and orientation. To start the event, delegates rendered praises and prayers to the Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which was presided by Rev. Fr. Jerome Virtudazo, OAR, Church Administrator. In the afternoon, Ms. Maria Satthia Luna, a mental health advocate and an alumna of the University of San Jose Recoletos, delivered a talk about Mental Health Awareness. She emphasized the need for mental health guidance to the youth because of the pressing issue of suicide in the country. The talk provided delegates with insights on how to maintain personal wellness and how to cope with the stresses they encounter in life. Afterward, delegates participated in the evening service of light, Lucernarium. During meditation, confessions were heard from them. Before calling it a day, delegates were distributed to their foster families whose homes were made available for them to stay for the entire duration of SYD.
Delegates listened and reflected upon two topics pointing out Mary as the model for spiritual life and mission for the young people. With the theme Young People Arose and Pray like Mary, Rev. Ivan Cuison, OAR gave the first talk. The next speaker was Rev. Fr. Robert Rein Marquez, who dealt with two themes: 1) Mary Arose obeys- Family and young people synodal Encounter and 2) Mary arose and went to haste: Young people answered yes to Mission. In the afternoon, delegates immersed themselves in the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie during their “Laro ng Lahi.” In the evening, delegates spent moments of reflection, shared experiences, and worshiped God during the “Praise Jam.”
Early in the morning, delegates took advantage of the aerobic benefits of ZUMBA, an exercise that can improve their health and physical performance. To express their gratitude, delegates gave away tokens to the foster families who adopted them and welcomed them into their homes. Capping the three-day event was the closing ceremony on the beach, where the team-building, awarding, and community dance were held.
This year’s Summer Youth Day in Los Arcos, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur focused on the revered figure of Mary. It served as a platform for learning, reflecting, and enabling participants to explore the diverse ways in which Mary’s life and teachings have left an indelible mark on history and spirituality. The first-ever Summer Youth Day will not be the last.