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YOUCAT Congress in the Philippines

Stefanie Bross
Stefanie Bross
December 5, 2019

It was like being immersed in another church, a living church, a young church, a church of joy and awakening. The second international YOUCAT Congress after 2015 took place from 7-11 November 2019 on the Philippine island of Iloilo, an economically booming region an hour's flight from Manila. The congress was held under the biblical motto "Arise! (= Get up!).

The participants understood what was meant: Now, in this hour, the church must break out of its lethargy and tackle the task of the century; it is called "New Evangelization". For also in Asia the Catholic Church will either grow or fall back into insignificance. More than 1200 registered participants, plus many day guests, spent three exciting days in the modern congress centre of the island capital. Delegations from a lot of Asian countries and even from Africa came to discover new ways of catechesis and to exchange their own experiences. About half of the participants were young catechists. In addition there were cheerful nuns in colourful costumes and half a dozen bishops who mingled with the young people without fear of touching them. More than 100 volunteers had worked for one year to ensure perfect organization and prepared highly acclaimed stage shows. But the focus was on the fascinating catecheses, presentations, outreaches and lectures that dealt with the question: How do we pass on full faith to the next generation? Catechesis is the heart of the new evangelization. This was understood by the young people, among whom a real fire was lit. In more than a thousand letters to Pope Francis, the young catechists committed themselves to be missionary disciples and to carry Jesus to the people of their generation.