By Jane Gabriel Maglente and Aengyl Grace Beato
Mindanao, Philippines (FIS), 2 March 2023 -- More than 100 young leaders and animators of the ever-growing Salesian Youth Movement in Mindanao actively attended the Leaders and Animators’ Formation last February 26, 2023, with the theme “REBUILD IN THE WORLD OF DIGISTRY”. The said participants were from the two Don Bosco settings in Mindanao: The Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish-Don Bosco, Mati, and Mary Help of Christian Parish, Dacudao, Calinan, Davao City, where the activity took place. The youths from the first setting spent more than 4 hours traveling from Mati City to Dacudao wherein more than a hundred LAF participants from the latter parish also waited to welcome them with joy, giving a lovely welcome that warmth even the brisk breeze of Calinan's marvelous natural environment.
At the beginning of the event, Fr. Rooney Undar, SDB (CYM-FIS Delegate), and Fr. Keith Amodia, SDB (SocCom-FIS Delegate), led the Eucharistic service, formally starting LAF DIGISTRY in Mindanao and thanking God for the lives of two revered Salesian Promartyrs, Sts. Luigi Versiglia and Callistus Caravario, whose feast day was commemorated.
Following the Holy Mass, a simple snack sponsored by Mary Help of Christian Parish was enjoyed by the everyone. An active animation led by SYM Don Bosco-Mati energized the participants. Miss Christine Ramirez, SYM-FIS Youth Secretary, introduced the new SYM Core group, making the SYM of Mindanao acquainted with their new SYM-FIS leaders from Cebu. Afterwards, she introduced the first speaker, Fr. Keith Amodia, SDB, who shared his knowledge about DIGISTRY, a talk that moved the young to see the beauty and importance of Digital Ministry. As part of his topic, he instructed the young to use the power of their God-given talents and their phones to create posters that will help them share the word of God in the digital world. The youth took photos around the parish, they were then instructed to put their favorite bible verse in the photo. After that, Fr. Keith appreciatively checked their outputs, sharing with them his skills on how they could improve in doing such wonderful crafts of art to empower the digital ministry.
As the clock ticked noon, the participants had their lunch, wherein they diligently organized their time as they were also given the task to create a music video using their favorite Salesian song during lunchtime.
The afternoon session started with Miss Christine’s call to the participants to gather inside the parish. They had an afternoon prayer followed by the reading of the Salesian Youth Identity. As the next speaker prepared for his talk, the Salesian Youth of Mati led the animation as everyone danced to the hymn of La Copa de Todos and Fliegerlied. The participants then settled down as they prepared to hear Kuya Daryl Torreon, SYM-FIS Senior Youth Leader, with his talk about the life of the newly canonized saint in the Salesian Family, St. Artemides Zatti, who is best known for his “Salesian Joy”, deep faith, and commitment to the sick. During the talk, young people were not just acquainted with their new saint friend, they were also inspired and challenged to live by his virtues!
Fr. Rooney Undar, SDB gave a Talk on the Strenna 2023: As the Yeast in Human Family. He reminded the young that as part of the church, they have the capacity to become a yeast of their own, capable of making great things through small beginnings through, their steady works in silence. Giving light on how a strong friendship with Jesus Christ helps anyone grow from the inside out.
"To what should I compare the kingdom of God?" It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened." (Lk 13:20-21)
These young people who came from diverse communities in Mindanao are not just the only young people who proved that they are a yeast of their own. Two youths from Cebu generously gave their joyful YES in imparting themselves for the success of this event, flying all the way from the queen city of the south to the beautiful land of promise. They were Ate Christine Ramirez, SYM-FIS Youth Secretary, and Kuya Daryl Torreon, SYM-FIS Senior Youth Leader, who shared not just their knowledge and skills, but also their love for the young! They are youth leaders to whom the SYM leaders and animators of Mindanao were profoundly grateful. In addition, the young people of SYM-Mindanao would love to extend their huge gratitude to Fr. Rooney and Fr. Keith for imparting their time and knowledge as speakers of LAF DIGISTRY, and to the generosity of the host setting, MHCP-Don Bosco, Dacudao, especially to Rev. Fr. John L. Cardinal, SDB, parish priest, and Rev. Fr. Ariel M. Arias, SDB, Parochial Vicar, who warmly accommodated the participants. Furthermore, a sincere thank you to Jeffrey Mondejar, the parish youth coordinator, the young people, and youth advisers of Don Bosco, Dacudao, who contributed greatly and worked hard to help prepare the activity venue. Sincere appreciation to SYM-Mati for sharing their time, talent, and treasure, especially to their youth director, Fr. Rosmon Miguelangelo Valenciano, SDB, whose heart was filled with great generosity in assisting the Salesian youth of Mati to participate, making LAF DIGISTRY a more fantastic activity.
LAF DIGISTRY 2022 may have ended but the Leaders Animators Formation and the lessons for Digital Ministry will continue. The event may have concluded, but the growing mission of the youth for the youth continues. Teaching the Salesian Youths skills in the new normal of Digital Media, acquainting them with the newest saint of the ever-growing members of the Salesian Saints, and instilling them the value of Strenna 2023, was a success. The journey does not end here. Just like yeast who continuously brings growth for the bread in silence, through their small yet genuine actions, these young people are the bringer of growth in their own community and maker of the future yeast of the church.