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CELEBRATIONS around the NATIONAL YOUTH

CROSS and RELIC of St. JOHN PAUL II


NATIONWIDE PILGRIMAGE

Following are examples of possible celebrations around the National Youth Cross and the Relic
of St. John Paul II, which may be used during the pilgrimage in the regions. Though there are
details given, the celebrations welcome the creativity of the youth ministers who will animate the
celebrations. [Note: This text is adapted from the Celebrations around the WYD Cross and Icon,
used in March 2007.]

I. IN PRAYERFUL ANTICIPATION OF THE VISIT


(waiting for the arrival of the Cross)

General Instructions

A few well-prepared instructions may be given at the start of the event to guide the
participants and everyone involved through the whole celebration. This may include
information about the venue, the flow of the program, how to properly approach the Cross,
and other similar instructions.

Orientation on the National Youth Cross

The National Youth Cross

The National Youth Cross is the first Cross ever created for the Philippine Catholic youth
ministry. The ECY, during its 25th anniversary in 2011, came up with a Cross which
embarked on a pilgrimage all over the Philippines.

The Cross is made of tanguile wood. Tanguile, also known as Philippine mahogany, is a
type of hardwood, but shrinks and swells to a greater extent when exposed to moisture. It
is stringier, and frays or splinters when crosscut. Also, it is not advisable to expose it to
changes in humidity and to extreme heat.

On the Cross, the images and figures on the surface were hand painted; they are youthful
in style and color, and the persons garbed in Filipino get-up.

The vertical part of the Cross depicts the scenes of the story of the Road to Emmaus [Lk
24:13-35], a Gospel story which serves as the icon of youth ministry here in the
Philippines:
(from the bottom going upward)
+ The two disheartened disciples meet Jesus, who listens to them
+ Jesus explains the Word of God
+ Jesus leads them in the breaking of the Bread
+ The two disciples return to Jerusalem, afire for the mission

The horizontal part shows fourteen different faces of young people: a student, a Maranao,
a nurse, a hip-hop youth, a call center agent, a doctor, an out-of-school young lady, a
guitarist, a catechist, a businessman, a varsity player, a soldier, a farmer and an Igorot.
They also represent the fourteen Regional Youth Coordinating Councils in Philippine
Catholic youth ministry: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, National Capital, Southern
Tagalog, Bicol, Central-Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, the five sub-regions in
Mindanao-Sulu, i.e. Cabustam, Daditama, Dopim, Kidmaco and Zambasuli, the Military
Ordinariate, and the Federation of National Youth Organizations.

Thus, the National Youth Cross represents Filipino youth and Catholic youth ministry in
the Philippines, accompanied by the Lord Jesus in His Paschal mysteries.

The Journey of the Cross

The National Youth Cross of the Philippines goes on a pilgrimage throughout the country
in celebration of the 2019 Year of the Youth.

As this year highlights the significant gift of presence of young people in the life of the
Church and society—they who are BELOVED, GIFTED and EMPOWERED to heed the
call to be IN MISSION—the journey of the Cross sends out a message of hope to the
youth, and manifests the salvific love of Christ who offered His life to bring us back to
the Father. Young people are then encouraged to gaze upon the Cross and receive the
many blessings and graces emanating from this symbol of Christ’s love for us, and reflect
on it; thus encountering Christ in a more personal way. This way, the journey of the
Cross becomes a true pilgrimage of prayer, reflection and grace. It should then be an
occasion for all, but especially for young people.

Orientation on the Relic of St. John Paul II

The relic of St. John Paul II is a portion his own blood contained in a vial. This blood
was extracted by doctors toward the end of his life in case an emergency arises, as the
saint was battling with the complications of Parkinson’s disease. His blood was mixed
with an anticoagulant when it was extracted from him; thus, it remains in its liquefied
form.

St. John Paul II is one of the contemporary saints who is not only well-known, but greatly
loved by many, including the young. Having made 104 apostolic journeys around the
world, he lived his pontificate in dedication and commitment to pastor the Catholic
faithful towards fullness of life in Christ.
He is known as the Pope who embraced the gift of presence of young people to the
Church. He instituted the celebration of the World Youth Day to attract more youth to
live and deepen their Christian faith. St. John Paul II never failed to show his faith in,
hope and love for the youth. Thus, he is regarded not only as patron of the World Youth
Day, but also a saint for the young people.

This relic of St. John Paul II, which accompanies the National Youth Cross, belongs to
the Diocese of Balanga. We acknowledge the Diocese of Balanga, with Most Rev.
Ruperto Santos, DD as Bishop, for allowing this relic to accompany our National Youth
Cross in pilgrimage this 2019 Year of the Youth.

Opening Prayer

Praise and thanks be to God for the Cross, which is the sign of our salvation. On the
Cross, our sin was crucified with Jesus, and with his death, our death is destroyed.

Word of God

It is appropriate to use the Gospel text on the story of the Journey to Emmaus [Lk 24:13-
35]. Other Scripture texts about the Paschal mysteries of our Lord may be used.

Reflection

The Cross is a sign of our salvation. On the Cross, our sin was crucified with Jesus and
with His death, our death is destroyed. The Cross reveals how God does not passively
capitulate to evil, but battles against evil, not through violence but through loving fidelity.

Penitential Celebration

Provide an examination of conscience in the form of a dialogue with the Lord. The Cross
is a sign of our reconciliation with God. Looking at the Cross, the young person is
encouraged to look at his or her life through the eyes of Christ.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Assured of the forgiveness of the compassionate Father, the young person is invited
to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
II. WELCOMING THE NATIONAL YOUTH CROSS
AND RELIC OF ST. JOHN PAUL II
The National Youth Cross and Relic of St. John Paul II are welcomed in a solemn way. A
rite of acceptance is available in a separate document.

The Relic is carried and enthroned in front. Then, a group of young people carries the Cross
in procession around the venue and to the appropriated place, beside the Relic. They have to
ensure that the Cross is secure in its stand.

Meanwhile, the assembly sings a song of welcome and other suitable songs of praise, e.g.
“Song of the Cross”. They may be encouraged to clap their hands, raise/waive their
scarves or handkerchiefs, or do the action of the song.

Then follows the rite of acceptance.

III. CELEBRATION OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST

Readings for the Day

Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory Prayers may be invoked, either recited or in silence, for different


realities and situations of the youth and of the youth ministry in the community.

Post-Communion Prayer

Lord, our God and loving Father,


grant us a deeper insight into the meaning of the cross of Your Son, Jesus.
We contemplate on the Cross, as did Mary, the Mother of the Lord;
St. John, the faithful witness; St. Stephen the first Martyr;
St. Lorenzo Ruiz; St. Pedro Calungsod;
and so many other blessed men and women after them.

May we see the glory of Your Son shining from the Cross,
the glory of a love that is faithful to the end.
Grant us a share in the experience of Mary and the first disciples,
the saints and martyrs who forgave their enemies and offered their lives for their faith.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Brother,


who forgave his tormentors and revealed himself to be the Messiah,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Amen.

Venerating the Relic

The veneration of the relic of St. John Paul II may also take place as part of
celebrating together as a community. This may take place right after the Opening
Mass, while the recessional song is sung. Other suitable songs may accompany the
veneration, e.g. “Tell the World of His Love”, etc.

IV. CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE CROSS AND RELIC

Encounter with the Cross and Relic

During the stay of the Cross and Relic in a certain place, young people are invited to
approach the Cross and Relic in reverence. An atmosphere of silence and prayer is
encouraged, to accompany the young people as they venerate the Cross and Relic. The
use of meditative songs and chants can be of great help.

During a long period of encounter, a moment for prayer in the way of Taizé may be
organized, possibly with the help of young people and youth leaders who are familiar
with this way of prayer.

Contemplating the Cross

Individuals and groups are encouraged to come to contemplate the Cross in silence.
The idea would be to provide a space for contemplating the Cross and its meaning for
individuals and/or for groups.

Suggestions for individual contemplation:


 Provide a text with a passage from one of the Gospels depicting the passion of
Christ, and a passage depicting the resurrection. Some guided meditations will be
given which shall encourage silent prayer and reflection on one’s choices when
confronted by the Cross.
 While contemplating the National Youth Cross in silence, the individual is
encouraged to make a personal decision about some aspect of his or her life that
needs to be challenged or enlightened by the Cross of Christ.

Way of the Cross


The Way of the Cross is a popular devotion perfectly suited for the pilgrimage of the
Cross. The stations may be placed around the venue. Young people are led into
praying the Way of the Cross, which can culminate with paying homage to the National
Youth Cross.

The Holy Rosary

The Holy Rosary may be recited. Some appropriate songs may be sung after each
mystery. It will be a significant experience for the young people if the local ordinary
(arch/bishop) leads them in the prayer.

V. YOUTHFUL AND CREATIVE CELEBRATIONS


The National Youth Cross is perfectly suited for creative initiatives that originate from the
talents and gifts of young people. These could include drama, music, and other forms of
creative expression. These could be used to organize a feast of “youth creativity” in the
presence of the Cross, as a joyful sign of the resurrection of the Lord.

The following are suggestions:


 A contemporary passion play or other dramatic representation might be enacted in the
presence of the Cross. Some effort could be made to relate issues that have gospel
significance for life in the Philippines, or in the situation of the local church.
 Some Gospel-related singing might be organized at the foot of the Cross. A drama
depicting the life of a youthful saint or significant contemporary personage for whom the
gospel came alive in his or her milieu might be enacted before the Cross.
 An audio-visual presentation depicting the youth ministry of the local setting might be
made in the presence of the Cross.
 Some dance performances with themes related to the gospel could be organized in the
presence of the pilgrim Cross.

VI. CONCLUDING ACTIVITY


A hymn or chant may be sung to help the youth enter into the concluding activity.

Final Prayer

Father, grant me the courage to face my daily crosses.


Let me never accept suffering for its own sake nor to give up on life and its joy.
Never let me be satisfied with my misery for its own sake.

Like Mary and many other young saints and blesseds,


help me to accept the Cross, if it means abandoning myself to Your Will.
Help me to recognize that I am always in Your hands,
even when everything seems to indicate to the contrary.

Help me to accept the Cross, if it means announcing You, the God of Life,
to other young people for whom life has lost its meaning.
Today, inspired by Mary, my Mother, I accept Your call
to be Your faithful disciple and to witness to Christ, Your Son, who is our only hope.
Amen.

Sign of the Cross

Everyone is invited to sign each other’s forehead with the Sign of the Cross, as he or she
says: “May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you!”/ “You are beloved, gifted,
empowered and sent to be in mission!”. It is a gesture that reflects one’s desire to have
the meaning of this encounter with the National Youth Cross planted deeply within, to
help him or her announce to the world the self-giving of Christ.

Prayer for the 2019 Year of the Youth


Prayer With and For the Youth

God our Father,


we come together as Church, the Body of Christ,
and through Your Holy Spirit,
we pray for our young people
in this Year of the Youth.

In Your great mercy, You sent Jesus, Your Son,


who grew up as a young man among the youth,
became an example for the youth,
and consecrated the youth to You.

Hear our young people


every time they proclaim:

A: We are BELOVED.

B: We praise You for Your love for us,
which saves us and gives meaning to our lives.

A: We are GIFTED.
B: We rejoice over the many gifts You give us,
enriching us and our communities.

A: We are EMPOWERED.
B: We accept Your Spirit Who enables us
to share Your love and grace
especially to other youth.

During this Year of the Youth,


help the youth of our nation encounter Christ

who always looks at us with love

as He did with the rich young man,
the disciples on the road to Emmaus,
and those who seek Your Kingdom.

Form us by Your Holy Spirit


into credible guides for our young people,
like Mary Magdalene, witness and missionary of the Resurrection,
to be IN MISSION:
joyfully proclaiming Christ
who died and rose again.

Nourish us and our young people


through Your Word and Eucharist,
so we may always choose to be life-giving,
especially to the least, lost and last.

Together with our young people,


may we follow the example of our Mother Mary,

whose YES to You, O God,

gave way to the fulfillment of Your Divine will.

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.


Amen.

St. Pedro Calungsod, patron of Filipino youth, pray for us.

* In common prayer, the A and B parts may be said in either of these three ways:

A: to be recited by young people


B: to be recited by the rest of the assembly

Or

A: to be recited by males
B: to be recited by females

Or (particularly in places where the assembly is divided into two groups)

A: choir 1
B: choir 2

The rest of the prayer is recited by the whole assembly.

Final Blessing

Departure of the National Youth Cross and Relic of St. John Paul II

A group of young people carries both the National Youth Cross and the Relic in
procession around the venue before it exits the place. They have to ensure that the
Cross and Relic are brought to a secure place and in the hands of the team/s who is/are
responsible for handling these.

Meanwhile, the assembly sings a song of gratitude and other suitable songs of
thanksgiving. They may again be encouraged to clap their hands, raise/waive their
scarves or handkerchiefs, or do the action of the song/s.

Suggested songs:

“Make A Stand” (CBCP-Year of the Youth 2011 theme song) (Mr. Jude Gitamondoc)

“We Carry The Saving Cross” (from WYD 1995) (Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ)

“Song of the Cross” (from the WYD 2002 Album) (Susan Hookong-Taylor, Ana Tereza Da
Costa)

“Jesus on the Cross” (from “Something More”, Jesuit Communications) (Fr. Johnny Go SJ)

“We’ll Follow You” (NYD 2001 Theme Song) (Fr. Mimo Perez)

“Behold the Wood” (traditional)

“Kaibigan, Kapanalig”