I really thank God for allowing me to experience His greatness again during World Youth Day in Rio. 2 years ago I was given a chance to go to WYD in Madrid and it was really awesome seeing different races gathering as one to celebrate the faith and seeing Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI first time. During that time, I just entered into full time work. When I saw the Pope, my prayer was to bless me in this life that I have entered, to always have the heart a missionary each and everyday for being a missionary is an everyday commitment to God and last, to be more faithful and trustful to His plans for me. It was like having a courtesy call to the Pope. After Pope Benedict XVI announced the next WYD which will be in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, I told myself that what I experienced here in Madrid is enough, even I will not be in Rio anymore everything here is enough. Well, God’s plans are way better than our plan. Yes, I was given again the chance to go to WYD in Rio through the help of the generous people around me. I realized is never short change of what God can do in our lives.
Being in WYD Rio was a great privilege for me, I learned so many things in life particularly as a missionary and many realizations are just popping out on my mind. All in all this WYD experience for me has really blessed me, more than being as a sub group head; thinking of others welfare is also a priority, this WYD has been a personal journey of faith for me as well. Having that great privilege to be here, you were given the chance to pray for your family, friends, and service. We also built good relationship to all the people we met there to our host families in Diocese of Petropolis and in Rio de Janeiro. They are like Filipinos, very welcoming and hospitable; we treat their house as our own house. I really felt the sense of family there, though sometimes language was a barrier but it didn’t hinders us to communicate and to relate with them because what we use is the language that is common to all. Many races mean many languages but there is one common language that binds us – the language of LOVE. It is love even you use your hands to communicate, it is love even you sometimes don’t understand them and just agree to what they say, and it is love when you make effort to use “google translate” as a means of communication. Love was is the key of a good relationship to others. We also had given the chance to be with our high school friends/alaga from Assumption. They have been with us all throughout our journey in WYD. It was really fun to be with them, we are blessed by their presence to keep us reminded of a happy youth servant should be.
I know God called me to be part of this marvelous event and true enough, World Youth Day is an affirmation of the calling of God. With this, I was given the chance to see the Pope for the second time! Well, not Pope Benedict XVI but Pope Francis. His presence is overwhelming and so much joy comes into my heart because I can see Jesus through him. After 2 years of full time work, I was given the privilege to have “courtesy call” to the Pope again. I realized that in 2 years of full time work, my prayers in Madrid really happened. He has been so great to me; my doubts overcome by faith, my fear overcome by trust. He is really my promise – keeper! That is why; my heart was filled with love of God and love for the service. Ready to do His work and follow His will no matter what. One of the affirmation also of God with regards of being called to be missionary was through the places we have visited. We’ve gone to Cristo Redentor, Jesus Christ affirming us that we are redeemed so our call is to help others know that they were redeemed to and we are welcome by His loving embrace. We also went to Our Lady of Fatima, meaning our Lady is always with us protecting us with her blue mantle of protection and interceding our prayers. Our host parish during Semana Missionaria was chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, affirming of the mission, being apostle to others, making Christ known to them. St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of missionaries, affirmation of me being a missionary. Very timely, because the theme was “Go and make disciples of all nation”. This life is a life like no other, a life of mission is a life that God wants me to be.
WYD also is an avenue for us to share our community’s charism. We have been given the chance to head an English catechetical site during the WYD proper by managing the program together with other Filipino pilgrims. One of the greatest gifts of God to our community is worship. During the Semana Missionaria, despite of the busy schedule, we find time to gather in worship as YFL but at the end of the worship we are amazed because some of the pilgrims from other countries joined us in our worship. This happened not just once, there was a time that all of the pilgrims in our parish joined us and after the worship many approached us crying that they really felt the Holy Spirit, having one message to all! I realized that God is really at work in our community! He is using our community to make Christ known, to make others feel the presence of God, to make them feel that they are loved by God. He is really faithful to us! God is at work in CFCFFL. Through these experiences, I am bolder when it comes to evangelization, when it comes to making Christ known to other people especially to the program I am handling right now simply because I know God is with us!
One of the striking moments for me in WYD is during the 1st day of catechesis. The topic was about “Thirst for hope..”, the message is very real for me. The call for me is to be a source of hope to other people, in my family most especially, to my friends and to my community. A source of hope by sharing all my Jesus Christ experiences whenever and wherever I go.
I really thank God for these experiences. I never imagined of how God has been faithful to me during my life as a missionary. He never fails in fulfilling His promises in His perfect time and ways. Now, I am very confident that God will always be with me even through the toughest times, because God affirmed me that nothing is impossible with Him. And I know that our Mother Mary will always be with me interceding with my prayers and protecting me. My heart is filled with great love and I will continue to share this to other people! Making Christ known no matter what.
Shared by Kuya Julius Eguia
High School-based Program Coordinator