OVER 900 youth from Dominican schools were challenged to be vigilant and to speak out on extrajudicial killings and mental health issues during the Adonai 2017 festival last Nov. 11 at Siena College in Quezon City.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Permanent Committee on Public Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called on young people to “make noise” against the wanton disregard of human life in the government’s drug war.
“Kayo ay mag-ingay din sa ating lipunan. Ngunit `yung ingay na may basehan at alam natin `yung mga isyu na pinupuntuhan natin. Mayroon kayong malalim na kaalaman sa lipunan. Isiwalat ninyo ‘yan,” Secillano said.
Secillano reminded the attendees to avoid using illegal drugs to escape problems, and instead seek refuge in the Church.
Fr. Jade Licuanan, youth director of the Archdiocese of Manila, encouraged the youth to be in communion with one another especially during the height of social issues.
“Although it is important that we have individual witnessing, hinihiling na ng kalagayan ng bansa; we need to come together, discern together for us to create a stronger impact in the society,” Licuanan said.
Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, O.P., prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, said Dominicans must first be open and vigilant with God’s presence to keep themselves inspired.
“Are we also alert? Are we vigilant? As Dominicans, that is always expected of us. Kung bukas ka lagi sa inspiration ng Diyos, you are always inspired to tell about Him [and] the good things awaiting our lives,” he said.
Licuanan reminded young people to give back to others what they had received from God.
“We have to exhale goodness, kindness, generosity and forgiveness. Hindi pwedeng inhale lang ng inhale ng formation programs at sacraments. One way to exhale in our Christian life is to be in mission, to be in service of others,” he said.
Youth on mental health
Thomasian Dr. Gia Sison, national adviser of Youth for Mental Health, lauded the youth’s support for the Mental Health Bill.
“Be of support. You have to watch each others’ back[s]. Let’s reduce stigma. Ang lakas ng boses niyo. Kung hindi sa inyo, hindi aabot sa third reading ang Mental Health Bill. Be there for each other. Ang dami na kasing hatred sa mundo. Let’s try uplifting others,” Sison said.
UST won in the college division of TV Upgraded, a video advocacy contest of the Dominican Network Youth Group, while the Aquinas School San Juan won in the high school division.
Celebrating the theme “A Community bound by Love,” Adonai 2017 was attended by Dominican schools from Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon Province and Metro Manila. L. O. Garcia