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Vatican official challenge RP youth to work for peace

MANILA, July 12, 2007—In a country marred by violence and prejudice, the Filipino youth must take a proactive stance in pursuing the path to peace and justice, a Vatican official said Thursday.

Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) Secretary-General Fr. Patrick Byrne made the candid call for more young people to get deeply involved in the Church and its search for peace.

"There is so much war and so much crime in our society that we need to change," Byrne told his young audience actively participating in the 2nd National Congress of the Holy Childhood held in Intramuros, Manila. He invited the youth to bravely follow the light of Christ in their lives and in their search for peace in ways "opposed to violence and discrimination".

“And always return to Jesus Christ so that you have the spiritual help in this quest for freedom,” said Byrne, who attended the event representing Pope Benedict XVI. The gathering is also the culminating activity of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the PMS in the Philippines with the theme "Filipino children: Reflecting love, Representing joy, Renewing the Church".

PMS-Philippine national director and newly installed Daet (Camarines Norte) Bishop Gilbert Garcera said the occasion is aimed at giving more importance to the value of mission in the country especially for the youth.

"Let us give the youth a chance to be missionaries too so that they could reach out to other people," he said.

"It's good to see children helping other children." Around 900 young Catholic faithful attended this year's occasion that will end on Saturday, July 14. (CBCPNews)