The 6th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) was held from July 18-21 at the University of Santos Tomas in Manila. The theme of the PCNE was Filipino Youth Walking with Jesus and was chosen to celebrate the Year of the Youth as declared by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in response to Pope Francis’ Synod on Youth last year. The goal of this year’s PCNE was “to thank God for the gift of the youth, listen to them, and to give the youth opportunity to be protagonists of new evangelization…” 1
There were 4 days with many graces and a great experience with the young people, many of whom were the main speakers.
The first day was mostly discussion by the clergy and consecrated persons but also included included testimonies of the youth about their experiences with the Holy Spirt and how the communication with the Church has been vital for them to know God better and to deepen their belief in Him.
Sean Patrick, Papal Knight and Head of the English Desk for the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, spoke on the topic of “Using the Medium, Being the Message” in which he discussed many experiences about how the Church communicates and how to improve the dialogue between the Church and the people of God. He even quoted Pope John Paul II who said: “high clouds bring no rain”, and counseled the clergy and consecrated persons to always be among the people of God and not to feel superior to them in any way.
The others days were open to everyone, joining laity- many of whom were young people- and clergy and were filled with the entusiam of the youth.
One of the many topics included in this year’s PCNE was the “Heart to Heart” with Cardinal Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila. Instead of giving a speech, he interviewed several people: some who are involved in the Church but also a member of Parliament, sports and TV personalities. Cardinal Tagle connected the youth with more experienced Catholics when he stated: “The whole Church can learn something from [the youth]. The elders do have valuable lessons to share with them, but now, the challenge is for the young people to share with the rest of the community their wisdom, because they know this present world better than we do.” 2
In addition to the many varied workshops, there were concerts, praises, worships and, of course, mass was held everyday as well as adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, moments in which we saw the faith of the Philippine people, a blessing that always touches me. During the Conference, I really felt connected with God and was renewed in my desire to give more and more of my life to connect the youth with God and His love that has no limits.
I can say that when I left Conference I was sure of one thing: the youth is really a great blessing for us, the Shalom Community, and I was extremely happy that God has given me the grace of living here with these young people who are very happy, faithful, grateful and simple.
I will end my sharing with Cardinal Tagle’s last words, “Stay online with Jesus – Christ is alive!!!”
Mabuhay ang Filipino Youth,
Mabuhay ang Shalom Youth!
Maria das Graças Coelho
1 The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, Circular No. 2019-4B, May 28, 2019. https://www.cbcplaiko.org/2019/06/11/philippine-cnference-on-new-evangelization-2019/