By Christina Hermoso
The National Youth Cross and a relic of Saint John Paul II will be brought to different parishes across the country on a pilgrim tour until December.
A send-off mass was held at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Chapel in Manila on Feb. 13 prior to the start of the pilgrim tour, which serves as one of the highlights for the Year of the Youth observance.
Priests bless with holy water the National Youth Cross and the relic of Saint John Paul II during a send-off Mass at the CBCP chapel in Manila, Feb. 13. (CBCPNEWS / MANILA BULLETIN)
The Year of the Youth is part of the nine-year preparations for the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines which will be celebrated in 2021.
Rev. Fr. Conegundo Garganta, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY), who presided over the mass, invited the public to visit and pray before the Youth Cross and the relic of St. John Paul II as these symbols of faith make the rounds to different parishes.
“We encourage all people to receive these important symbols of faith and open their hearts to the Lord,” Garganta said in his homily.
The National Youth Cross is the first cross ever made for the Philippine Catholic youth ministry. It embarked on its first nationwide pilgrimage during the 25th anniversary of ECY in 2011. The relic is a piece of cloth stained with the blood of Pope John Paul II.
“The pilgrimage seeks to be a meaningful moment to gather the entire Church communities and pray with and for the youth. We are invited to respond to Jesus’ call for all of us to be saints and share the works of Christ to bring the Good News to all,” Garganta said.
At the end of the pilgrim tour on December 12, the National Youth Cross will be returned to the CBCP chapel while the relic of John Paul II will be returned to the Diocese of Balanga.