28th Local World Youth Day
March 21-24, 2013
San Fernando Rey Parish, Liloan
Pastoral Center (Patria de Cebu),
P. Burgos St., Cebu City 6000
Tracing the History
Commission on Youth
YWS initiated a youth convention on September 24, 1978. The convention was able to identify programs that the YWS were to implement: sports development, liturgical activities, education/ formation, cultural presentation, social action, research and evaluation.
Prior to the convention in 1978, a situational analysis of the youth ministry in the archdiocese was made which led to the creation of the Cebu Diocesan Youth Coordinating Council (CDYCC). This was the first organized attempt to put the structure of the archdiocese’s youth ministry. The CDYCC then served as the implementing arm of all youth plans and programs in the archdiocese.
In line with the same structure, another transitory attempt to strengthen and expand the CDYCC was made in 1984. It aimed the creation of a district level organizational set-up with the six districts represented by 3 youth leaders, one from the North, Metro-Cebu and South respectively. The plan was conceived through conventions and series of district consultations. However, the attempt was not sustained due to lack of organized vicarial and parochial based youth groups.
In 1985, His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal convoked the Fourth Diocesan Synod of Cebu. In preparation to this event, the Youth Welfare Services was elevated as the Commission on Youth (COY). The Synod declared the COY as an official member of the Pastoral Planning Board and as ex-officio member of the Presbyterial Council since 1986. The structure and functions of the newly created commission were articulated in the Declaration of Statutes and Observations on the Youth on pages 110-112 of the Synodal Handbook.
After the Synod, an organizational structure was formulated to be set-up in the Archdiocesan, District, Vicarial and Parochial levels. The structures are being followed until now with some modifications however. In the districts, for example, there is an addition of a youth coordinator who serves as medium of information from the COY to his/her district and vice-versa. Young priests are also requested to serve as spiritual directors to these youth coordinating councils. These modifications are contained in the Ratified and Approved Resolutions made during the 1st Cebu Archdiocesan Youth Congress in October 19, 2002.
Msgr. Alesna served as the COY chairman until 1988. Rev. Fr. (now Msgr.) Guillermo “Jimboy” Gorre took over the commission in July 1988. In Msgr. Gorre’s term, the apostolate catered to 7 districts, 21 vicariates and 123 parishes and even the schools. Campus ministry was a separate program until the creation of the COY.
After Msgr. Gorre, Cardinal Vidal appointed Rev. Fr. Vicente “Junie” Tupas as chairperson who was able to serve the commission for eight years starting in 1993. Fr. Tupas’s term saw the institutionalization of the Local World Youth Day (LWYD) celebrations and establishment of coordination with the Episcopal Commission on Youth - National Secretariat on Youth Apostolate. The archdiocese also hosted the National Conference of Youth Ministers in 2000.
Due to the vast scope of the COY’s apostolate, it was then decided that the campus ministry be inducted as a separate organization. The Archdiocesan Campus Ministry maintains a coordinating tie with the COY. It is presently under the direction of Rev. Fr. Jesus B. Reyes.
Presently, the Commission on Youth is chaired by Msgr. Arturo R. Navales who took the office on September 1, 2001. Msgr. Navales initiated the creation of the Family of United and Empowered Leaders (FUEL) in 2004. It paved the way of a more collaborative relationship with transparochial and covenanted youth communities. FUEL has been officially recognized as a special district or “District 8” in the COY organizational set-up. COY is forming, organizing, and mobilizing young people in 141 parishes clustered in 23 vicariates as well as FUEL.
The three (3) youth congresses initiated by the Commission on Youth in 2002, 2003 and 2004 have articulated the urgent and pressing needs of the young people in the archdiocese. The first and second congresses gave way to the creation of the Approved and Ratified Resolutions and formulated the By-Laws and Constitution for parish and district levels respectively. These fruits are now contained in the “Handbook for the Youth,” which has become a manual of instructions for the youth leaders and for priests who work in the youth ministry.
The 3rd youth congress was convoked mainly to respond the statutes for the Archdiocesan Commission on Youth stated in the 4th Diocesan Synod of Cebu, which assert that, “The Commission on Youth shall initiate and/or strengthen developmental projects that will generate income for the unemployed youth in the Archdiocese,” and, that “The Committee on Formation shall prepare and/or develop youth training modules for development of skills and management of small business.” (Statutes 121 & 122).
Hence the Commission on Youth in its attempt to cater to the needs of the out-of-school youth, it took the challenge in establishing this skills training center, called the Archdiocesan YouthLinks Training and Assessment Center, located at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, Escario St. , Cebu City.
Now it offers Basic Computer Literacy Course, Desktop Publishing Course and Basic Computer Programming Course and other advanced courses for those who are really poor and cannot pursue their studies to colleges and universities.
In June 2007, Rev. Fr. Kit Sestoso was appointed by Cardinal Vidal as assistant chairman of the COY. To date, the Commission on Youth has eighteen (18) active youth members, including the Archdiocesan Youth Coordinator and the Archdiocesan Youth Leader.
Source: Kabataang Sugbuanon, souvenir book published by the Commission on Youth - Archdiocese of Cebu in 1993.