Filipino Youth Bring Social Media Evangelization to New Level

Ministry Leader Comments on What Francis Should Expect During His 2015 Visit

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Pope Francis will visit the Philippines at the start of next year, and according to one youth leader, he will find there a tremendous outpouring of love from young Filipinos, who are actively embracing the Church and her ministry.

One example of this is the group YouthPinoy, under the auspices of the bishops’ conference. This weekend YouthPinoy is hosting its third summit on evangelization through social media, a particular mission the present and recent popes have spoken about for young Catholics.

ZENIT asked the director of the event, YouthPinoy secretary Nirva Delacruz, to tell us about the ministry and what she thinks Francis will find in the Philippines.

ZENIT: What is YouthPinoy? How did it get started and what does it do?

Delacruz: YouthPinoy is a group of young online missionaries under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Office and the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY). The group was a joint initiative of CBCP Media Office director Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III and then-CBCP ECY bishop chairman Bishop Joel Z. Baylon. 

They came together and talked about what the Church in the Philippines was doing to respond to then Pope Benedict XVI’s call to «evangelize the digital continent». So they got together and thought of forming a group of young people who would be committed to online evangelization. They called a boatload of young people from different Catholic organizations to crack their brains about this specific group, thus, YouthPinoy was born in 2009, though it was only officially launched in 2010. 

Primarily, YP would carry out its mandate through its website,, but it would grow to include other stuff like World Youth Day coverage and the Catholic Social Media Summit to fulfill being «online missionaries of God» or what we call OMGs. 

ZENIT: What is the Catholic Social Media Summit? When did it start and what are its goals?

Delacruz: The Catholic Social Media Summit is the flagship event of YouthPinoy. It started in 2012 with the first one carrying the theme “Ministering Grace to this Generation” from Ephesians 4:29. Nearly 500 people from all over the country attended the first CSMS. 

Primarily, YouthPinoy came up with the idea of having the CSMS because we needed a platform to cascade the advocacy of online evangelization. The first CSMS focused on just encouraging Catholics to bring their faith online, so there were a lot of skills workshops during the first CSMS, on photography, on microblogging, even on how to make creative power point presentations, things like that. 

ZENIT: In light of Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the Philippines, what will be special about this year’s event?

Delacruz: CSMS version 3.0 is all about raising our commitment to online evangelization a notch higher in that we recognize the need for the Catholic online missionary to go out into the real world, have authentic encounters and go back online to tell the rest of the world about it. This is very timely, and we also see the hand of God in this, because the CBCP, our bishops’ conference chose the theme «Mercy and Compassion» for the upcoming papal visit. We see that the CSMS theme of authentic encounters seems to complete and complement the call of the bishops to reach out to the needy, the poor, the homeless. 

This is precisely what the third CSMS is about. For the first time, the CSMS chose to focus on seven advocacies of the Church that we want our OMGs to champion. They deal with:


– human trafficking

– Marian consecration

– justice

– the issue of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers)

– pornography

– election catechism (in time for our presidential elections in 2016)

For the first time, we are also doing CSMS «laboratories», where we tapped several groups to have their own brand of authentic encounters with people in connection to the seven advocacies. For example, for human trafficking, one pro-life group will be going to bars and will be giving roses to prostitutes in an effort to reach out to them. The National Capital Region youth ministry will be having one to one sessions with ex-convicts to teach them English in an effort to help them re-enter society and find jobs. 

They will be reporting their experiences during the CSMS. 

ZENIT: As a youth leader, what is your outlook on the future of the Church in the Philippines? What will Pope Francis find in Filipino youth?

Delacruz: I’m full of hope and a sense of pride in being not just Catholic, but a Filipino Catholic. St. John Paul II has called us a «light to the rest of Asia», some people call us the «Irish of Asia» and so on and so forth. Personally, I think the Philippines is one of the last remaining bastions of pro-life common sense. We have not yet legalized abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage and though we recently lost the fight against a divisive bill on contraception, it seems like the ruling was more in our favor. Young Catholics were a crucial factor in all these developments. We remain a dynamic, passionate and idealistic segment of Philippine society. 

I think simply, he’ll be getting a lot of love from us, young Filipinos. As in a lot of LOVE! And we hope the Holy Father will not tire of our affection because as early as now, I know of young people coming up with their own personal initiatives to prepare for January 2015. See here ;

Note that these are all young men and young male Marian devotees at that! I’m really proud to be a Filipino Catholic at this point in time. Praise God for all these graces!

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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