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Over a thousand youth converge for PBK-12

The happy faces of youths from TuaranPENAMPANG – More than a thousand Catholic youth coming from the Arch/dioceses of Kota Kinabalu and Keningau converged for a 5-day event,  the 12th Archdiocesan Youth Festival or Pesta Belia Keuskupan-12, from 1-5  June 2014, spread out over three Penampang parishes; Sacred Heart Church Inobong, St Michael Penampang, and St Aloysius Church Limbanak.

Celebrated once in four years with a different theme, 2014 theme for the festival was taken from John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  This awesome gathering seeks to unite youth across the arch/dioceses, coming from different culture and background, with the main purpose of celebrating their Catholic faith as one.

After checking in on the first evening, PBK-12 was declared open with an Opening Eucharist on the morning of the second day, at the Sacred Heart Church Inobong by Archbishop John Wong and concelebrated with a slew of clergy from the dioceses.  A huge turnout of religious and parishioners added to the festive air and to the youth, their presence lent great support in their journey of faith.

Youth Open Forum with His Grace, Archbishop John WongThe Archbishop stayed on after the Mass to moderate an open forum on “Young people and the Church”.   He expressed his delight and commended the spirit of the youth to desire to know more about Jesus, hence their commitment to the PBK, where it is used as a platform to lead the youth closer to Jesus and His Church.

The objective of the sessions was aimed to bring the youth to know and to live out their identity as Catholic youth. The inputs served to guide and to create awareness among them, especially on current topics such as conversion to other religions, religious beliefs and cultural crises which erode the Catholic values.  The open forum which touched on human rights generated a healthy amount of interest among the youths. They have come to realize that the Catholic teachings of the Church could actually serve them by preparing them to handle the events that challenge their faith as Catholic.  This is especially true in their encounters with other believers.

Other highlights of the festival were the Youth Festival Night, Jesus Walk, Input on PBK-12 theme, and Youth Vigil.

Host families who provided accommodation played an important role in responding to the objective of PBK-12 in which the youth and their host family experienced a sense of belonging as they valued the uniqueness and culture of each other.   Praying together and sharing of faith have enriched both sides, particularly in their knowledge of God.

Fr Jeffri Gumu, Spiritual Adviser to the Archdiocese Youth Commission, summed up in his statement to the youth that “The Archdiocesan Youth Festival is a call of God to celebrate their faith.  It is an opportunity to proclaim the kingdom of God here on earth.  God will never cease to call each and everyone to come to Him, so as to go forth to spread the greatest of all love, the Love of God.”

At the closing Mass, the Archbishop gave as his parting words the import of the PBK-12 that “only in Jesus, through Him, with Him and in Him, will we be able to stay firm in our faith because JESUS is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

The festival concluded with the Archbishop’s sending off and commissioning all participants to proclaim the Good News to the world through witnessing by their life which is grounded on the values of Jesus Christ.

The PBK-12 program comes to an end but for the 1235 youth, they are to begin by going forth to testify the love of Christ to all. Until we meet again at PBK-13, 2018, in Tuaran Parish! – AYC, Sr Dora Obod

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