TACLOBAN (UCAN): A blood relic of the Pope St. John Paul II, has been attracting young people in the Archdiocese of Palo, Letye, the Philippines.
The relic has been touring the country as part of preparations for the 500th anniversary celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.
“It’s a heartwarming experience seeing the relic for the first time,” said Abbie Montablan, a 21-year-old seminarian in the provincial capital of Tacloban.
The arrival of the relic “is an inspiration to the youth whom he always paid attention to when he was alive,” he said.
“I am now more inspired to be a priest,” Montablan, a student at the Sacred Heart Seminary in the central Philippines, said.
Sixteen-year-old Angela Ruby Tiozon said the visit of the relic was a “big opportunity for me to live up to the teachings I learned from St. John Paul II.”
Samantha Cuero, also 16, said, “The words ‘don’t be afraid’ by St. John Paul II inspires me to do voluntary work for the parish.”
Touring with the saint’s relic is the National Youth Cross, which was made for the Philippine Catholic youth ministry, in time for this year’s observance of the Year of the Youth.
The year-long celebration, which started last December, is themed, Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered.
The observance, which the bishops described as part of the “nine-year journey for New Evangelization,” will end on November 24, the Feast of Christ the King.
Spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Palo, Father Chris Arthur Militante, called on young people to “venerate the relic whenever it reaches their parishes.”
He said the visit of the relic and the National Youth Cross is “very timely because young people are facing plenty of forces that drive them from the Church.”
Father Conegundo Garganta, chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, said the pilgrimage “seeks to be a meaningful moment to gather entire church communities and pray with and for the youth.”