Manila, November 7, 2019: The Philippines, Asia’s largest Catholic country, is hosting an international conference of young Catholics in Iloilo City to explore ways of the new evangelization.
Hundreds of young missionaries from different countries are attending the 2nd International YOUCAT Congress at the Iloilo Convention Center, Nov. 7-10.
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, presided over the opening Mass on November 7. He urged youth delegates to witness the Gospel to others and be missionaries to the nations.
Organized by YOUCAT Philippines and Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo, the congress is a response to the church’s call for the new evangelization in the Year of the Youth which is marked this year in the Philippines, said Mathew B. Loteyro, a participant.
YOUCAT is a youthful version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church released in different languages in 2011.
YOUCAT is the abbreviation of YOUTH and CATECHISM. As a book, it is a manual of faith that speaks the language of the youth.
“However, YOUCAT is not just a book. We are a community. The YOUCAT is our tool to enlighten the young in the beauty of our faith and the truth of the gospel. Using this tool, we shall go to them and together with them we shall make YOUCAT more than just a book but rather a way of life,” Marian Castro, a member of YOUCAT Philippines, said.
YOUCAT is the Catechism of the Catholic Churches for adolescents and young people. The most important contents of the faith are summarized briefly and comprehensibly in the format of questions and answers. The YOUCAT was approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and officially published by the Austrian Bishops’ Conference. With more than 5 million sold copies, it is one of the best-selling Catholic books in the world.
Pope Benedict XVI personally endorsed the book as a tool for evangelization among youth.
The congress has its theme as “Arise,” recalls the episodes in the Gospel of Luke (7: 11-17) when Jesus raised back to life the young son of the widow of Naim.
Guided by the words of Jesus, the congress aims to be an occasion for rediscovering Christ’s particular love for the young and his challenge for them to “arise” from their present conditions and become enthusiastic servant leaders, with the help of YOUCAT.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila invited lay organizations, youth ministers, catechetical directors, and the different religious congregations to join the event.
“I highly endorse this momentous event in the life of the Church in this part of Asia,” Cardinal Tagle said.
The Philippine bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Youth endorsed the congress as part of its many youthful ecclesial activities of the Year of the Youth.
Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, former chairman of Episcopal Commission on Youth, encouraged participation “to make more meaningful and fruitful our journey of preparation for the 5th Centenary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.”
The first international YOUCAT Congress was also held in the Philippines in 2015.
Inspired by Mary, Star of New Evangelization and St Pedro Calungsod and St. Lorenzo Ruiz, YOUCAT PHILIPPINES is a provider of tools and integral faith formation for Christian Discipleship of young people.
YOUCAT PHILIPPINES utilizes existing centers as venues for education, formation and renewal. It helps in the formation of a generous, competent and effective pool of volunteer and professional youth catechists.
It also assists in making and developing resources and materials for effective evangelization and establishes a system for sustainability, networking and collaboration.
YOUCAT was launched on World Youth Day, 2011. Developed with the help of young Catholics and written for young-aged people and young adults. YOUCAT is an accessible, contemporary expression of the Catholic faith.
The appealing graphic format includes Questions-and-Answers, highly-readable commentary, summary definitions of key terms, Bible citations and inspiring and thought-provoking quotes from Saints and others in the margins. What’s more, YOUCAT is keyed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so people can go deeper. It explains what Catholics believe and why (doctrine); how Catholics celebrate the mysteries of the faith (sacraments), How Catholics are to live (moral life) and how they should pray (prayer and spirituality).
The questions are direct and honest, even at times tough; the answers straightforward, relevant, and compelling. YOUCAT will likely become the “go-to” place for young people to learn the truth about the Catholic faith.
“We commit ourselves to live and share Christ by promoting and developing YOUCAT tools and formation programs, and equipping and empowering the youth with new strategies and methodologies for effective evangelization,” said Teresa Punzo, a participant.