Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

We Lead! We Serve! (SYM Leaders and Animators Formation)

Youth serving youth! This is the motto, the battlecry, the shoutout, the encouragement, the inspiration, the reminder, the challenge of the Salesian Youth Movement to the young people who are part of this vast movement: animators and youth ministers, leaders, and members. Today’s Leaders and Animators Formation (LAF) is an opportunity for our young people to learn, be updated, and to be flexible in this time that we are all in. The situation may be challenging because we all miss the physical and face-to-face gatherings but nonetheless, the organizers of this event have done their best to connect all of us even virtually, online. This is the SYM Core Group’s way of serving you, our dear young people, to reach out, for formation, for common prayer and worship, and to lead everyone to the Lord especially in this time of pandemic.

In the Gospel, Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” This gospel is fit for our gathering today of leaders and animators of the Salesian Youth Movement. Our Lord Jesus is reminding all of us how to become true youth leaders. This was the reminder of Jesus to the disciples who were arguing who was the greatest among them. What is the teaching of Jesus about true leadership? Service through listening and accompaniment.

Service. During this time of the pandemic, we have witnessed service done in many ways. There was the organization of a community pantry where people who have more are able to share food and other supplies to those who are in need. They had this idea of sharing whatever they have and put them in an accessible place. Those who are in need are asked to take only what is necessary. Many of our young people also became involved in this and some have done the same in their communities as well. Bisan ug lisud ang sitwasyon, we found ways still to help, to be of service to our brothers and sisters in need. I believe some of us have a heart for service because in one way or another, they too have been helped, or have been recipients of the service of other people too. As youth leaders and animators, we are challenged by our Lord Jesus to be the last of all and the servant of all, to be servant leaders, to dirty our hands, to be agents of encounter and reconciliation. This is service.

Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Listening. This is a need for many young people nowadays especially since many could not go out due to the lockdowns. Anu ang feeling kapag ikaw ay hindi pinapakinggan? Masakit diba? Feeling rejected? Surely we would not like to feel those, right? Listening is a show of love to those people who need to be listened to, those who feel depressed or sad or stressed out. Thus listening can be a way of serving our fellow youth especially in this new normal. We have heard from the speakers today this word: engage. In order to engage with our fellow youth, we must learn to listen, and to listen attentively, with the heart. Jesus also did a lot of listening in His ministry with the people. He was able to heal, preach, and reach out to people because he heard and listened to their cry and need. Listening is an act of service.

Accompaniment. As young people, the need to belong is very important. We need people to be with us so that sharing of life can happen. Gusto natin na meron tayong kasama, masakit kasi ang maiwan. Unfortunately some people would say, “masakit at mahal maiwan ng eroplano, pero mas masakit noong iniwan mo ang mahal mo para sa isang bago.”As youth animators and leaders, the members look up to us, approach and share with us, even to the point of asking also for advice about life. We are able to accompany as well because we too have experienced being accompanied by elders and other significant persons in our life. Accompaniment is an act of service.

Our act of service is through LISTENING and ACCOMPANIMENT. These are concrete ways for us to follow Jesus, to be like Jesus.

Beloved friends in the Lord, Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” For us leaders and animators, our act of service is through listening and accompaniment. These are concrete ways for us to follow Jesus, to be like Jesus. We are all called live out the theme for this year’s LAF, #WeLead #WeServe and the Movement’s motto, “Youth serving youth!” Are you ready to take the challenge?

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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