812 Dominican youth gathered to be part of ADONAI 2016: to praise, to bless, and to preach Jesus, with the theme, “To be merciful just as your Father is merciful”, last 12 – 13 November 2016 at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Manila, Philippines.

 

The Dominican Network Youth Group (DYG) – Philippines organized ADONAI, an annual overnight youth vigil, as part of its preaching mission to the youth. DYG Philippines is a network of Dominican schools, colleges, and universities all over the Philippines. With over 25 member schools, DYG encouraged the youth through ADONAI with several activities such as youth discussion and involvement about mercy and compassion, praise and worship sessions, and receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit through mass, confession, and taize.

 

Part of it is also an annual competition entitled, TV UPGRADED 2016: Truth in Video Advocacy, with the theme for this year “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful”. Students from Dominican schools all over the Philippines joined the competition with the nature of promoting truth through creative videos. Among the winners are Angelicum College, Quezon City with their video entitled, “Don’t be Afraid to Show Mercy” (Champion); Siena College, Quezon City with their video entitled, “Coming Home” (1st Runner Up); and Aquinas School, San Juan with their video entitled, “Sticky Notes” (2nd Runner Up) for the high school division and for the college division, Aquinas University of Legazpi’s most outstanding entry is entitled “Kahabagan at Pag-ibig” (“Mercy and Compassion”). TV UPGRADED 2016 videos can be viewed on the Dominican Network Youth Group’s Facebook page.

 

ADONAI 2016 gives light on the mercy and compassion of Jesus especially on how the young Dominican youth should emulate His teachings. “Sobrang saya ko dahil naka-attend ako ng ADONAI at nakasama ko po yung DOMNET family ko… nakakatulong sa pananampalataya kaya napag-isipan ko na pumunta sa Manila para sa ADONAI…”, (“I am so happy because I was able to attend ADONAI to be with my DOMNET family… It helps me strengthen my faith that is why I decided to go to Manila solely for ADONAI…”), Anton Lopez, a DYG youth member from IloIlo said.

 

DYG – Philippines also provided discussions to the youth about the mercy of Jesus. Mr. Richard Pazcoguin, the Director for Campus Ministry of the University of Santo Tomas, compared the mercy of Jesus with the Filipinos’ way of life. His discussion revolved on four themes namely, Christmas and Time, Door and Food, Prayer and Forgiveness, Understanding and Nurture. He mentioned that sharing a meal with other people is a means of sharing a part of the self. This is in relation with the story of Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand. Before he ends, Mr. Pazcoguin challenged the youth to be the Good News to other people through spreading Veritas (Truth).

 

There was also a parallel session where the youth created a dialogue with Rev. Fr. Mhandy Malijan, O.P.; Sister Cecilia Espenilla, O.P. of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena; Mr. Manuel Zamora, former director of the Letran Center for Community Development; Mr. Romulo Gabriel Kintanar, a volunteer teacher for Teach for the Philippines; and Mr. Kabaitan Bautista, a musician and teacher of youth leadership through music. The dialogue centers on how the guest speakers were able to emulate the mercy and compassion of Jesus through their vocation. “Tandaan, mahirap kung iba ang ginagawa sa sinasalita.” (“Remember, it is difficult when what we are doing is different from what we are saying.”), Mr. Bautista ended his sharing.

 

Joyful Friars were among the invited guests for the vigil. They are a band of brothers who preaches through songs and animations. “It is not through our words and ideas that preaching is felt. It is through the life that we live. If we preach truth, we must be truthful in our actions.”, Joyful Friars mentioned. They are young energetic brothers who transformed the way of preaching. For them, it is through music and lively energy that they can get the attention of the youth. “Life is the best way of preaching!”, they added.

 

One of the most awaited sessions in ADONAI is the praise and worship conducted by The Feast Manila, which uses music and dance to innovate the definition of preaching the Word of the Lord. “… ang ADONAI ay parang party din na kung saan si Hesus ang sentro ng pagdiriwang.” (“ADONAI is similar to a party where Jesus is the central part of the celebration.), added Anton.

 

With Fr. Christopher Jeffrey L. Aytona, O.P., the National Adviser, DYG Philippines was able to give the youth a meaningful and successful overnight vigil. When asked how she feels after the event, Ms. Danah Lyn Sasis, the National Coordinator, said, “As long as we see that our fellow DOMNET youth are delighted with what we have done, organizing it makes it much more fulfilling for us. Mercy could be shown in different means… through forgiveness, giving hope, trusting and believing in someone.”

 

“For 3 years we were able to gather more than 700 Dominican youth from different places and cultures (in the Philippines) with one purpose – to praise, to bless, and to preach Jesus… This event is made for the youth… The youth must be a joyful witness of God’s light like St. Dominic spread the light to the world”, Ms. Sasis on her message to all the Dominican youth around the world who wish to be part of something, a family.

 
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