Cebú 05/08/13, (Sodalit News – Philippines). With the theme, “Freedom: It’s your choice,” more than 300 high school students came together July 20 through the 21 at Sacred Heart-Ateneo School in Cebu. They arrived from various schools on the islands of Cebu and Bohol to participate in Convivio which took place for the second time in the Philippines.
This Convivio was inaugurated by the Cardinal Emeritus, His Eminence Most Reverend Ricardo Vidal, who encouraged the youths to be faithful to themselves, rooted in Christ – their true friend – so they can find authentic freedom. The participants also received the apostolic blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis through the country’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams.
In a setting of dialogue and reflection along with several talks, the participants were able to discuss and share their impressions about what they themselves and society today think about the meaning of freedom. Through personal experiences and shared reflection these young people proposed answers to today’s problems and challenges.
Antone Baronda, a student in 9th grade at Sacred Heart-Ateneo School in Cebu, joyfully expressed her experience, “the congress was incredible and all the activities helped me to become a better person in the community, at home, at school, etc. I discovered that the Lord Jesus has freed me from my sins and that only in Him can I truly be free. I discovered what freedom really means. This is a once in a lifetime event, truly amazing.”
Many young volunteers from the Christian Life Movement (CLM) worked to organize this congress. Anne Teofilo, member of a Marian group, told us about her experience hosting the event. “For me it was an encounter with Christ because I had the opportunity to give myself generously and do a lot of apostolate. As a host the experience of giving has been mutual: not only have I done apostolate to the participants of Convivio, but they have also done a lot of apostolate to me. This demands the commitment and responsibility of living my Christian life well.”
“It was a special experience in which we proved once again that the heart of man longs for God, longs to know the truth and live in the true freedom brought by the Lord Jesus,” says sister Keyla Basurto. This Servant of the Plan of God shared her impression after, “seeing many young people who enthusiastically shared and lived the joy of being Christians and were able to find answers for their lives that can help guide their choices according to the Plan of God.”
The closing Mass was celebrated by the auxiliary bishop of Cebu, Emilio L. Bataclan. Along with these activities there were also theatrical presentations that introduced the different themes of reflection in the congress, along with the participation of the “CLM Band”, which gave a concert on Saturday night. The lineup of the band included Convivio 2013’s theme song and other original songs from the CLM in the Philippines.
Convivio is an annual congress of catholic students where young people have the opportunity to get to know the Christian faith through talks, group dialogues, and other activities that look to answer the fundamental questions that every young person begins to discover.