IDENTITY AND MISSION
The Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) is the office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for youth and youth ministry. As an animating, coordinating, and policy-making body of the CBCP, its mission is to dynamically assist youth ministers in the Philippines in their journey with young people towards their maturity in Christ, following the example of Jesus in the Emmaus story [cf. Lk 24:13-35].
The ECY sets directions as regards pastoral ministry to the youth within the Catholic Church in the Philippines. It inspires, motivates, promotes the needed culture, and builds relationships among youth ministers.
NETWORK OF COLLABORATORS
With respect to its identity and mission, the ECY is in direct collaboration with the youth ministry councils of the 86 dioceses in the Philippines and with 24 national youth organizations converged under the Federation of National Youth Organizations. In either a diocese or a national organization, a Youth Ministry Council serves as the catalyst in organizing youth ministry in its setting. It is basically composed of a Youth Director (normally a clergy), a Youth Coordinator (usually a religious or lay youth minister) and a Youth Leader (a lay young person), along with other youth ministers who are delegated by the Bishop (in the case of a diocese) or the National Leader (for a youth organization). It is important that these roles are filled completely, and by qualified persons, which is beneficial for collaboration and integrity in the ministry.
Chairman: Most Rev. REX ANDREW C. ALARCON, DD, Bishop of Daet
Vice Chairman: Most Rev. BARTOLOME G. SANTOS Jr., DD, Bishop of Iba
Most Rev. ANTONIETO D. CABAJOG, DD, Bishop of Surigao
Most Rev. LOUIE P. GALBINES, DD, Bishop of Kabankalan
Most Rev. ENRIQUE V. MACARAEG, DD, Bishop of Tarlac
Most Rev. MARVYN A. MACEDA, DD, Bishop of San Jose de Antique
Most Rev. PATRICK DANIEL Y. PARCON, DD, Bishop of Talibon
Executive Secretary: Rev. Fr. CONEGUNDO B. GARGANTA, Clergy of the Antipolo Diocese
The ECY maintains a Secretariat that serves as its implementing arm. The ECY Executive Secretary concurrently serves as the Secretariat Director, with five (5) full-time and three (3) part-time/volunteer lay youth ministers serving in the following departments:
- Project Planning and Management
- Administration and Finance
- Communications and Technology
- Documentation, Files and Library
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, most of the ECY programs and events for 2020 were put on hold, especially those designed for the physical presence of participants. It is noteworthy, though, that this unusual situation spurred the ECY and its collaborators to explore other ways, whether already existing or new, of doing youth ministry.
A few ecclesiastical territories and member organizations of the FNYO were observed to have incomplete youth ministry councils and are inactive not only in participating in ECY-organized or -endorsed programs but also in activating or sustaining youth ministry during the pandemic.
As regards human resources, there is a great reduction in the number of youth ministers in the ECY network primarily because of the restrictions wrought about by the pandemic. This has greatly affected the ECY organization in the sense that the youth ministers are not only recipients but collaborators in the ECY mission. Surprisingly, the rise in the use of social media and technology has rendered positive outcomes, enabling the ECY to reach out to more youth as its audience and youth ministry recipients. Parallel to this, there emerged youth ministers who are most eager to learn new ways in continuing their ministry, to be technologically informed so that they can continue to be where young people are.
In terms of financial resources, assistance from mission partners is considerably, and understandably, reduced. The ECY financial reserve has dwindled. Though disheartened, the ECY is determined to thrive. It sees, on the positive side, that some programs held online required minimal financial resources. Further, the ECY found its way around financial challenges by partnering with media organizations, particularly tapping the CBCP Media Office, which generously shared its expertise in implementing several online programs.
As for its Secretariat, the ECY carefully ensured the maintenance of the office, enabling the continuity of its work while ensuring the well-being of its staff. Throughout this pandemic, with its stringent quarantine measures, the ECY allowed the Secretariat staff to observe work-from-home arrangements. Alongside this arrangement, the ECY committed to supporting its staff through financial assistance for food, medical, communications, and transportation expenses.
ECY AND THE MISSIONARY COOPERATIVE PLAN
As it navigates the “new normal”, the ECY commits to pursuing programs that were put on hold. During the last quarter of 2020, the ECY mapped out adjusted plans and started implementing them. Assistance from the MCP – Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be used to support these plans, which are:
- Holding the National Youth Day 2021, an annual formation program for the youth, sometime in December, with the aim of gathering more participants and of reaching out to more young people through online or offline means.
- Re-structuring the National Conference of Youth Ministers 2021 to be a 4-day program taking on an online format.
- Revising and repackaging the Strategic Management Process, to make it more understandable and palpable for the ECY Network while ensuring wider support and extensive benefit.
- Providing ongoing Formation of Youth Ministers and Youth online through Webinars.
- Carefully looking into how Assistance for Wavering Youth Ministries be extended, for whom online presence appears very daunting.
- Exploring other ways and means for physical gatherings where necessary and possible.
COVID19 forced new situations and unimaginable changes to the world, including the Church and her ministry among young people. The pandemic caught the global community by surprise; nothing and no one was spared. The challenges have been real and enormous. But by God’s grace, the ECY is able to hurdle through.
To continue to minister to the youth ministers and to the young is our primary motivation. Jesus’ call to live His mission allowed the ECY to achieve what it is able to do amidst the frightening conditions. Faith in the Lord was essential for walking on the new waters.
For more information about the Episcopal on Youth- CBCP, please visit their website at www.cbcp-ecy.ph.
To support the EPISCOPAL ON YOUTH- CBCP, please click on the button below to donate and either select your parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and/or type Group 1998 in the memo box. God bless!