Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) At least 70 youth will represent the Philippines at the fourth Asian Youth Day (AYD) in Hong Kong from July 28 to August 5. Around 1000 young people from across the continent are expected to join the event in the former British colony: they will reflect on problems facing families in modern society and ways of improving the situation through their faith witness. The event is based on the theme: "Youth, Hope of Asian Families."
The Filipino delegation will be headed by the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Mgr Joel Baylon, and his co-chair, Mgr Patrick Buzon, and Fr Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary.
As the official website of the event explains, the AYD aims to bring youth to a deeper understanding of the multi-cultural and multi-religious realities of Asia.
The aim is help the youth to reflect on these realities in the light of faith and inspire them to integrate their life and faith experiences. But, the ultimate goal is that they will be able to live their faith.
The ECY said the Filipino representatives will form part of the AYD Drafting Committee. One of their works is to gather insights, testimonies and experiences of the participants in order to draw up an official AYD statement.
Throughout the week, meetings on the spirituality of the family and on sexuality will be held. There will also be workshops and exhibitions in which youth will present projects on the current plight of families and their proposals for improvement. Times of prayer and meeting on inter-faith dialogue are on the agenda, as well as shows reflecting individual traditional cultures.
Organised by the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), the AYD aims to "bring hope and changes to participants as they are faced with different situations in their life through a better understanding of the social factors affecting the family and the nourishment, strength and direction acquired from religious services and spiritual formation". Some challenges facing families in Asia singled out by the FABC are: poverty, globalization, pollution, women's rights, and economic development. Organisers hope that ultimately "youth will be able to play an important role in the family by promoting love and harmony within".
Past Asian Youth Days were celebrated in Hua Hin, Thailand in 1999, Taipei, Taiwan in 2001, and Bangalore, India in 2003.