AT LEAST 12,000 young pilgrims are expected to gather in Cebu next week for the National Youth Day, the country’s biggest gathering of Catholic youth.
“We are anticipating a wonderful event here in our Archdiocese... Let us pray that this would be peaceful, joyful and fruitful and full of promise for our young people,” Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said.
As of Wednesday, April 17, a total of 11,692 pilgrims have formally registered, according to the Cebu Archdiocese.
The figure, though, is projected to reach to as many as 18,000 with the participation of priests, nuns, volunteers, and more unregistered locals.
Cebu Archdiocesan Youth Coordinator Frankel Gerard Margallo said that around 90 percent of the youth pilgrims will be coming from different dioceses outside Cebu.
Margallo said the youth pilgrims will be staying in more than 3,000 host families and common spaces, such as seminaries and convent dormitories.
The official news agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also reported that more than 30 members of CBCP, including its president, Archbishop Romulo Valles, also committed to attend the event.
Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia will also be present starting April 27, where he will be having a dialogue with young. He was also scheduled to preside over the concluding Mass.
Hosted in a total of nine locations around Cebu, the five-day youth festival, which will be held on April 23 to 28, will look to engage the pilgrims in various expressions of art, music, and culture.
The National Youth Day coincides with the Philippine Church’s observance of the Year of the Youth. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)