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Manila - Philippines, 1 June 2020 -- Interview with Fr Juvenal Samia SDB, Salesian Youth Movement

How did you come up with the idea of LIT?

The SYM Council started the online ministry with "#GOTChu: SYM Online Kamustahan Series." It aimed to check on the SYM youth, especially their mental and emotional well-being during the time of lockdown. It kicked off on April 12, Easter Sunday, and continued throughout the rest of April.

When the SYM Core Group met online, we felt that the Quarantine will continue for a longer time so we felt the need for providing a meaningful activity for the youth. We also said that whatever that activity may be, we should also use it to continue the renewal efforts of SYM Philippines; hence, the idea of a month-long retreat in preparation for Pentecost Sunday.

How many were involved in the organization (technical,, speakers...) of LIT?

Indeed a large number of Salesians, Youth Ministry and SYM members are giving a hand to this online retreat, there were: 

  • 5 main organizers
  • 15 members of support team 
  • 40 facilitators 
  • 4 main session speakers 
  • 4 person who shared for SYM each Easter Sunday

What kind of feedback did you get from the participating youth?

Many youth ministers, youth animators and youth leaders across the country, even those not belonging to the SYM organization, appreciated the lively and down-to-earth presentation of Christus Vivit by the Salesians.

Young people were delighted, even moved, as they listened to the message of Pope Francis in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. One teenager, for example, realized that God has a plan for him, and the difficulties that he experiences are God's ways of calling him back and setting him in the right direction.  He said "So life hanging ng talk ni Father Jay. Naremind ako ng husto.  While watching napatanong nga din talaga ako "for whom am I?" Baka naman kasi kaya ko nararansan yung mga ganun it's just God's way of telling I need a major life realignment in preparation of for who I really am."

What is the next stage or follow up?

We would like to see more committed youth ministers and youth leaders who share Pope Francis' vision of Youth Ministry as explained in Christus Vivit. And especially we expect more collaboration between the SYM Provinces, FIN, FIS, FMAFil in the coming months esp. because we foresee that we won't  be able to organize actual big youth gatherings anytime soon.

What is the impact of the retreat on the SYM Philippines?

Youth leaders from different provinces came together and became friends. We hope that their friendship would encourage them more in the ministry.

Online youth ministry has its own share of exciting possibilities and the LIT RETREAT opened a new horizon for SYM such as sharing of resources, breaking traditional barriers of time and space, etc. We hope that we could collaborate more effectively in the next projects.

How do you continue the relationship with SYM not-affiliated youth?

SYM (Salesian Youth Movements) Philippines dreams of being "at the forefront of the Church's commitment to youth ministry." The LIT Retreat is a small but important step in realizing this part of our vision. Rest assured that the gains of the retreat would not be wasted.





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