YOUTH: A Part of a Big Change

Post date: Feb 18, 2015 3:18:05 AM

By: Gemma Miranda Manalo

Bataan National High School

City of Balanga, Bataan

It has been 20 years when Pope Saint John Paul II visited the Philippines, in time for the 10th World Youth Day. It was the first time for an Asian country to host the event.

On January 15, the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis arrived in Manila for his Asian apostolic visit after canonizing the first Sri Lankan saint. This marks another historic event in the lives of many Filipinos and even the whole nation.

According to Pope Francis, diversity should not be a threat, it should be an enrichment. Religion should not be a barrier in uniting one nation and this is what the youth has to understand.

Mercy and compassion. This is the theme of the papal visit wherein He wants to imply to the minds of the people that helping should always be in our hearts. He became known as the People’s Pope after declaring that he wants to be for the poor. A poor church for the poor. That is why he wanted commoners to be the ones who will welcome him upon his arrival at Villamor Airbase and not the politicians and VIPs.

The Papal visit to the Philippines brings unity to all Filipino Catholics and even non-Catholics who respect the religious leader. Pope Francis recognizes the youth’s contribution in promoting respect and understanding people of different backgrounds, “the children of today is the treasure of the church”, He said.

Today’s growing globalization create an environment which is increasingly diverse in terms of culture and religion. Since the youth constitute the largest segment of population in many regions, the role of these young people in shaping our country’s response to cultural and religious diversity is vital.

We as teachers must inculcate in our students’ young minds the importance of helping and reaching out the needy just like what the Holy Father wants us to do. It doesn’t mean that because they are poor they should be ignored and considered not a part of the society. They also need attention and equal treatment. We should also motivate our students and teach them responsibility and goal setting. Things have to change with the youth who are right now doing nothing.

The youth today has been connected to the outside world unlike before. They are globally interacting through internet, social media and online games. The message travels as fast as how you imagine it would be sent among users and through various ways they communicate, the advocacy of spreading mercy and compassion would be easier.

They could take part in welfare activities where they can help others in gaining self-confidence to pursue their dreams. Meanwhile, serving the mother land, utilizing their skills and envisioning a better future for the country and also to the people will be a great help to the nation’s declining morale.

In addition, the young ones today will be the future generation. It would be better if they will live together in harmony and peace with sympathy for each and every person. The youth has the ability to bring about a change in our nation. They just need to be given a chance to prove themselves. They need good morals and values to handle conflicts in a positive way.

As teachers, we must teach, support and motivate the youth to unleash their true power and voice out their thoughts and let them stand to fight for their aims.

Also, the 78-year old vicegerent tweeted in Filipino in his official Twitter account @Pontifex that the family is the greatest treasure of any country and we should all work to protect and strengthen this, the cornerstone of society.

Parents and teachers play an important role in explaining to the young generation the significance of the Papal visit. Certainly, it made a positive impact not only to Catholics but to the whole nation because Pope Francis’ apostolic visit aimed to bring unity to the whole world despite vast differences in culture and religion.