Cebu City―The apostolic nuncio of the Vatican to the Philippines on Sunday asked the Filipino youth participating in the six-day National Youth Day to free themselves from cellphone addiction and find peace in silence.
Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia hailed the relevance of mobile phones to the youth, but said when “one becomes a slave to the phone, you lose your freedom.”
“The mobile phone is a great help. It’s a progress. It’s nice that everyone knows how to use it... When the mobile phone is dragged, communication is reduced to simple contacts. But it is not [just] contact, it needs to communicate, Caccia said in his 20-minute homily during the closing mass of the National Youth Day 2019 at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Caccia made his statement even as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president on Saturday again asked for forgiveness for the Church pastors’ abuses, especially the sexual molestation of children.
Asked about the abuses, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, before delegates to the National Youth Day 2019 forum held in Cebu City, said: “We bow in shame, we beg for forgiveness.
“We continue to say: We are so sorry and beg for forgiveness from the Lord and from those this hurt and wrongdoing has been done.”
Caccia called on the young pilgrims of the Filipino youth meeting organized by the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Cebu “not to be afraid of silence.”
“It’s necessary to take care of one’s own interiority and listen to one’s conscience. Carve out spaces of silence. Don’t be afraid of silence, of being alone. But take some time [to be] alone, he said, quoting Pope Francis.
The Papal Nuncio said the “truth lives within the person and only in inner silence can the voice of conscience be grasped and distinguished from the voice of selfishness and hedonism, which are different voices.”
“So the first step to reach peace is to start [it] with silence, he added.
The head of the apostolic nunciature in the country also prodded the youth pilgrims to spend time in silence alone, without the mobile phone.
“I invite you. Every day, put a timer in the mobile phone for 10 minutes alone, in the room, or in open until your phone rings, he said.
“And listen to yourself the voices of conscience. Think what is life. What is supposed to be done? What is just and what is wrong.
He reminded the youth of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s expression on silence that the “fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.”
The “substituto” of Pope Francis here in the Philippines was joined by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president, Archbishop Romulo Valles, and around 20 more bishops and hundreds of members of the clergy in the closing mass attended by 12,000 delegates.
On Saturday, the delegates started to gather at the biggest sports center here for the final activities of the youth meeting that was started with a holy mass and commitment rite and recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Eucharistic adoration. The youth also took to confessions and spiritual advises from priests who were around.
The young delegates were also exposed to different religious orders and congregations in a vocation jamboree, with vocation animators explaining to them the life in the seminary and convents.
Caccia led other bishops and clergy in a dialogue with the youth on Saturday night, with the youth delegates throwing critical questions pertaining to the Filipino community and the young sector of society, event youth facilitator Frankel Margallo said.
Ronald Manlangit, a delegate from a parish in Carcar City, Cebu, told the Philippine News Agency the delegates did not return anymore to their respective parishes and foster families on Saturday, as the grand festival night concluded with a “youth jam,” which was finished at 3 a.m. on Sunday.
The youth stayed at the CCSC for the dawn rosary and slept on the ground to wait for the 6:30 a.m. closing mass.
Rev. Fr. Andrei Ventanilla, the event’s steering team facilitator, thanked the delegates for attending the youth day.