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Priests bless with holy water the National Youth Cross and the relic of Saint John Paul II during a send-off Mass at the CBCP chapel in Manila, Feb. 13. CBCPNEWS

Philippines: Youth Cross, St. John Paul II Relic Embark on Pilgrimage

A Highlight of the Year of the Youth

The National Youth Cross is making its way across the Philippines for the second time along with the relic of Saint John Paul II, CBCP News reported January 13, 2019.

It left Manila on that day and through the rest of the year until November 20 will be displayed in different parishes across the country.

The pilgrimage is one of the highlights for the Year of the Youth, which is part of nine-year preparation for the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines that will be celebrated in 2021.

Dozens of people turned out for the send-off Mass in Manila presided over by Fr. Conegundo Garganta of the Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY).

“We encourage all people to receive these important symbols of faith and open their hearts to the Lord,” said Garganta in his homily.

The first cross ever created for the Philippine Catholic youth ministry, it embarked on its first nationwide pilgrimage during the 25th anniversary of ECY in 2011.

The relic is a piece of cloth stained with the blood of Pope John Paul II, who is regarded as a saint for young people, and kept by the Diocese of Balanga.

Garganta said the pilgrimage also endeavors to be a meaningful moment to gather entire Church communities and pray with and for young people.

“We are invited to respond in Jesus’ call for all us to be saints and share the works of Christ to bring the Good News to all,” he added.

The ECY urged diocesan youth ministries to let the pilgrimage “reach and transform more young souls” especially those in the “peripheries”.

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