Delegates told: World Youth Day no shopping spree
The World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrimage should not be turned into a graduation tour and shopping spree, a Catholic bishop has advised future participants.
Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said that while many delegates to the recent 26th WYD in Madrid participated in the event’s religious exercises, others spent their time sightseeing and shopping in the Spanish capital.
He urged future participants to focus more on their spiritual needs—a seemingly apt advice as the next WYD will be held in that hedonists’ paradise, Brazil.
“In general, a good number of our delegates have participated in the WYD wholeheartedly and endured the hectic schedule of the pilgrimage. But admittedly, there are some who chose to be comfortable rather than to sacrifice,” Baylon told CBCPNews, the news agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Baylon, who chairs the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY), reminded the “deviant” Filipino delegates of their primary reason for attending the WYD.
“The WYD is not the time for tourism. The delegates should find time for touring around, shopping and socializing with other delegates only after the WYD,” Baylon said.
“I hope that our delegates will seriously participate in the next WYD and see their sacrifices as part of the blessings of the pilgrimage. After all, the WYD is a time which calls for self sacrifice,” he added.
According to the ECY, at least 2,000 Filipinos attended the WYD in Madrid from August 16 to 21. Of this number, 427 were under the ECY-Philippines delegation.
Fr. Conegondo Garganta, the ECY executive secretary, earlier appealed to Filipino delegates who are still in Europe to make sure they return home and not turn into undocumented workers.
He said that 70 percent of the 427 ECY delegates had returned to Manila but the commission was still trying to account for the rest and 1,500 more delegates who went to Madrid with their own groups.
Garganta said the ECY would finally find out if some delegates had indeed jumped ship and become undocumented workers by the middle of September, when their Schengen visas expire.
Baylon encouraged the Filipinos who attended the WYD in Madrid and those who missed it to also attend the next WYD in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.
But he said those intending to attend the next WYD should not only prepare materially for the pilgrimage but, more importantly, they should be “spiritually fit to be sensitive to Gods’ encounter with the youth.”
“I am encouraging young Filipinos to join the next WYD in Brazil. I would only remind them that spiritual preparedness is most essential than physical and financial preparedness. In WYD, you will receive an important gift and you have to prepare well for it,” he said.
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