By: Rose Gamier
When “unafraid and courageous” youths gathered for the Lord, you can expect a wonderful turnout. And true enough, last Saturday’s Diocesan Youth Camp 2018 was a huge success.
Mount Carmel Grounds was filled with youthful vibe and energy as the more than 300 participants, volunteers and chaperones came for the event. Opening prayer was led by Fr. Felipe Rollon, Jr., OAR, while Bishop Ryan Jimenez gave the opening remarks. Participants wore the DYC official shirts for this year and were given name tags where they were also grouped via color-coding scheme: red, blue, yellow and green. Each group attended the breakout sessions with talks on Theology of the Body by Fr. Romil Aperocho, Abuse: Substance Abuse, Violence and Bullying by Mr. AJ Mettao and Ms. Lupe Camacho of the Community Guidance Center, Sexuality: Porn, Masturbation and Contraception by Ms. Claire Seelinger, and Human Dignity: Depression and Suicide by Ms. Queayla Sablan and Fr. Allan Rubett Cabatian, OAR. Vinni Orsini, the event’s emcee shared that, “The goal of this event was to answer the most pressing concerns young people have about our faith. These included how our faith responds to contemporary issues. Although these topics are sensitive, these are issues students want to learn more about and we set about finding the best people to answer them. We reached out to the community guidance and Karidat as well as some priests to answer these topics.
The Vocation Ministry also set up a booth where participants can learn and gather resources about vocation. Sr. Narci Penaredonda, SJBP, said that the Vocation Ministry Team is here to “assist the youth of the diocese to discover where God is calling them so that they may experience the fullness of life. Though the program on Vocation promotion is not yet well-polished, team members are willing to extend accompaniment and guidance to the young people in the following capacities: Vocation Awareness, Vocation Orientation, Vocation Campaigns, Vocation Jamboree, and other Vocation sessions, workshops and Vocation dialogues.”
The event included games in the afternoon, and Q & A session with the Bishop, followed by Confession and Eucharistic Celebration at around 5pm. Each parish also showcased the talents of their youths in the mini-concert that followed.
Participant have nothing but good things to say about the recently – concluded youth camp. Many were struck to hear from people who have personally experienced bullying and substance abuse themselves, and it resonated with them all the more. They had a lot of fun and enjoyed meeting and interacting with different youths of the parishes, particularly during the games and team-building activities.
“This year’s Youth Camp has been super splendid. It was creative and different. I never thought it would be like this because we always share each other’s way through only our church or parish or the nearest part of our community. But using the color coded ID’s, we made our own community. Thanks to the coordinators! You guys are amazing, till we meet again po!” Eloise Lopez of Kristo Youth Ministry said.
One of Santa Remedios’ volunteers admitted that it was her first time to serve as chaperone and she also had fun attending the youth camp.
An active member of the youth ministry also said, “Every year or every Youth Camp is unique in the sense that most youth participants and even new DYC members were able to come out of their own comfort zone and express themselves through their talents, and being responsible to the assign task given to them. I overheard one participant saying, “What a beautiful experience! Thank you for bringing us here. ”
Sam Santos, Saint Jude Parish’s Master of Ceremony and Confirmation teacher, considered the event a great ending for the Catechetical Year 2017-2018 bringing the CCD Program students together one last time before they go back to their own parishes and dive in to the Confirmation/First Holy Communion Season. He admitted, “The process was painstaking, it wasn’t easy, but I think the Diocese is blessed to have a team that seeks to promote the same cause which is the lively involvement of our local youth within our parishes. For us in the Youth Commission, this event has taught us many things that we hope to implement in future events. Teamwork is important and is very the key when securing the successful accomplishment of any monumental task such as this. I am very proud of the outcome of this event –very pleased. It was an event by the youth for the youth.”
Edward Dela Cruz, Jr., DYC head, agrees and said, “Everyone gave maximum effort for the event. We had more participants, the students had fun. That’s all we asked for. The event went so well that we ended three hours ahead of schedule. Special thanks to the Department of Public Public Safety for staying back until every student was picked up before we officially terminated the event. The next step is conducting our 2nd Annual Diocesan Sportsfest, set for July 11th to July 14th. Registrations are open now until June 13th. Following games are basketball, ultimate frisbee and volleyball. Other games might be added later. Parishes can submit their team and rosters to the rectory. There will be no exception for late registration this year. We are also planning to have an overnight youth camp at Tinian by the end of July and Rota in the Fall.”
The DCY would like to thank the following for making this event possible: the clergy, catechists, youth ministries, diocesan staff, volunteers and chaperones. Also to the guest speakers: Mr. AJ Mettao, Ms. Guadalupe Camacho, Ms. Queayla Sablan, Ms. Claire Seelinger, Father Romil Aperocho, and Father Allan Rubett Cabatian, OAR, and the following organizations: IT&E, Latte Built, Hopwood Jr High School, Mt. Carmel School, CHC, CGC, DPS, DFEMS, Mayor’s Office, NMC Nursing, CNMI Legislature, CNMI Senate.
Again, Congratulations to the whole Diocesan Youth Commission!
Check photos here.