10,000 Youth for Christ leaders and members gathered last April 13 to 15, 2018 to celebrate God’s faithfulness at this year’s YFC International Conference (ICon). The scorching heat of the sun did not stop the young people from enjoying and experiencing fun, friendship, freedom, and faith.
The first day commenced with an opening worship led by Alvin Genese, a fulltime pastoral worker for Metro Manila- East B. International Coordinator for YFC JQ Quimpang, to formally open the 25th YFC ICon. Creative and sports competitions followed soon after in different venues around Makati.
The praise parade started from the Makati City Hall to the Circuit Makati grounds, with YFC showcasing costumes representing different ethnicities and cultures. Simultaneously happening with the parade was the Swap of Area Shirts at the area booth.
Everyone gathered to celebrate Holy Eucharist with His Excellency the Most Reverend Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila. In his homily, Bishop Pabillo reminded the delegates that everyone has the capacity to give, but giving one’s all will reveal the transformative love of Christ and all the miracles He can do in each person’s life.
Emil Estabillo, FTPW for Camarines Sur, led the evening worship prior to Session 1 entitled “In Faithfulness.” Quimpang, the session 1 speaker, reminded everyone that God never falters in sustaining man with overflowing love and grace. Danica Inguillo of YFC Campus-based Cavite, Ellah Gallon, Zamboanga High School-based Provincial Couple Coordinator, and Miguel Florendo, Metro Manila South A Cluster Head, were the sharers for this talk.
Quimpangended by challenging the youth to be faithful, to surrender doubts and fill their hearts with hope, enabling them to go full blast in experiencing God’s love to the fullest. Niccolo Arboleda, fulltime worker for Canada, led the closing worship, reminding everyone that for the past 25 years of YFC, the Lord’s faithfulness has been truly constant, remaining through every hardship, blessing, uncertainties, and affirmations.
To cap the night, the conference ended with the YFC Reunion wherein past and current generation of YFCs gathered together to reminisce and enjoy the amazing journey the ministry has had in the past 25 years.
On Day 2, participants gathered for the opening worship and headed to their respective workshops. Then they trooped to their assigned parish encounters, discovering the importance of meeting new friends, discovering histories, and sharing the goodness with their fellow Catholic youth.
Evening segments of Day 2 started with worship led by Banoi Fucal, FTPW for Cebu. Session 2 entitled “Fully Alive” was delivered by OJ Rivera(Canada), Nica Fabia(Metro Manila), and Francis Buñag (STAR Region). The trio pointed out three things: first, one of the greatest gifts that God has given is Himself, as portrayed by the cross, and is manifested in the Holy Eucharist as man receives Him; second, God always blesses more than man deserves, but man tends sometimes to focus on the gifts, not the giver; third, to always have the attitude of gratitude manifesting it in one’s thoughts, actions, and words.
Sharers for this talk were Pol Estrella from Metro Manila-West B and his family, and CMCondino of YFC Cavite.
The last session, “Full Blast,” given by Dillon Naicker, FTPW for South Africa, talked about the Christian life being never an easy journey. Being Christian is not about being strong and capable, but being able to feel pain and weak and in need of God’s mercy.
DJ Bustillo of YFC Metro Manila and Vaughn Maxey of YFC Davao shared about the pains and storms, and with God’s held, the victories in their lives.
Mitchie Tan, FTPW for North Eastern Mindanao, led the powerful praise-fest. Day 2 ended with a Youth Festival featuring music, spoken poetry and dancing.
The third day started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, celebrated by Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. In his homily, the prelates shared two points with the youth: to go forth and preach God’s faithfulness, and to witness to God’s love, a love that is of changing everything, even in circumstances where it seems impossible. He also challenged the young people to live a life that becomes an image of Jesus wherever they go.
Bodit Enon, FTPW for YFC Campus-based, led the praise-fest.
As a reminder of their identity as missionaries, everyone received a Budded Cross, symbolizing the Trinitarian Love, the love of the Father in His faithfulness, the love of the Son through expression in the Holy Eucharist, and the love of the Holy Spirit, empowering each one to fulfill the mission, proclaiming the glory of God.
The delegates were charged to bring more young people as they gather for the 26th YFC International Conference in Davao next year. (Mafi de Leon, Mica dela Rosa, BeoSalonga, and France Dador, Reprinted with permission from CFC Ugnayan)