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Coya 2017: Unity in diversity... one in heart and soul (Acts 4:32)

06 July 2017 CGI news

Coya 2017: Unity in diversity... one in heart and soul (Acts 4:32)

COYA is a network consisting of Catholic lay organizations or ecclesial movements working for, with and by the youth in Asia. Each movement has its specific calling and mission to develop Catholic and human values through living, reflecting and acting in the social and spiritual dimension of the Church and the society, especially in the context of Asia. COYA collaborates closely with the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences-Office of the Laity and Family-Youth Desk (FABC OLF-YD), and with the local Church. At present, the member organizations of COYA are : 

  • CFC Youth for Christ 

  • Chemin Neuf Community
  • The Focolare Movement (Work of Mary)- Youth for a United World
  • Fondacio, Christians for the World 
  • Hatsal Youth Ministry Institute, Korea

  • Institucion Teresiana Youth (IT Youth) 

  • Institute for World Evangelization-ICPE Mission 

  • International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements (FIMCAP)

  • International Movement of Catholic Students/ IMCS – Asia Pacific 

  • International Young Christian Students/ IYCS Asia 

  • Jesus Youth 

  • MIJARC Asia 

  • Salesian Youth Movement-FMA 

  • Salesian Youth Movement-SDB 

  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP)

Every year, the members gather for a meeting called "Living the Pentecost'. In this year, the Catholic Organizations for Youth in Asia (COYA) finds joy to celebrate their annual “Living the Pentecost (LTP)" meeting at the Diocese of Legazpi, Philippines last May 15-19, 2017.

Legazpi’s tropical rainforest climate highlights the generosity and warmth of its people most especially of Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon D.D., Chairman, FABC – OLF Youth Desk, for welcoming the participants in Harong Kan Ama (Bishop’s House) in Sipi, Daraga, Albay, Diocese of Legazpi.

COYA started their four-day meeting on May 16 with an opening mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Gustavo Benitez followed by a recollection inviting each representative from CFC Youth for Christ, Fondacio, Institute for World Evangelization (ICPE Mission), International Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements (FIMCAP) and Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) to reflect on the Gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles. The serenity of the place helped for a wonderful spirit of prayer and adoration.

The Eucharistic adoration was followed with the preliminaries of the meeting: setting of expectations and contributions, recapping of LTP 2016 and presentation of the meeting agenda. The meeting ended with the review of COYA’s first part of the primer (Mission and Vision, Spirituality and Communion), identifying its role In the Asian Church, and giving insight to the direction of COYA for the next 10 years.

The second day of meeting opened again with an early Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Gustavo. Business meeting continued with the review of COYA’s active and inactive members, discussing the role of COYA on Asian Youth Day (AYD) 2017, Asian Youth Minister’s Meeting (AYMM), and preparation for LTP 2018. The afternoon then was filled with an encounter of Albay’s people and places. COYA’ participants had an immersion with the beneficiaries of Vincentian Family Housing in Anislag, Daraga, Albay. More than 300 families of over 1000 population lived here after the destruction of their houses by Typhoon Reming in 2006. They also toured around the Cagsawa ruins, the remains of 16th-century Franciscan Church engulfed during Mt. Mayon explosion 200 years ago. They ended the day meditating on Christ’s Passion in Kawa Kawa Hill and Natural Park in Ligao City.

Concelebrated mass opened the last two days of the meeting with Bp. Joel and Fr. Gustavo.

On the third day of the meeting, Fr. Gustavo discussed about the Federation of Asian Bishop’s conference (FABC) Final Document, AYD, AYMM and the Bishops’ Institute for Lay Apostolate (BILA) on Youth next year, followed by the continuation of the business meeting and COYA’s priorities. Participants of the meeting headed for a youth immersion that afternoon. They enjoyed the night with a fellowship along the city’s boulevard. Such night was filled with an atmosphere of communion as one community allowing open doors for the Holy Spirit and love to enter.

The context of the preparatory document of Synod on Youth was comprehensively explored by Bp. Joel. He laid down questions coming directly from the document to the participants. Also, Ms. Angelina R. Panelo, the incoming SSVP representative to COYA, a delegate coming from the recent meeting in Rome “From Krakow to Panama – The Synod journeying with the Young”, shared a report from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - Episcopal Commission on Youth (CBCP-ECY) about Asia’s response on the questions from the document as well as her thoughts and reflections about the meeting and the preparatory document.

Looking for next year’s meeting in Korea with ICPE as the next host, participants shared evaluation and experience of the meeting. Most of the participants shared positive reviews with some rooms for improvement. Though somehow lacking on attendees and preparation, the meeting turned out to be a very wonderful experience of gathering and communion just like the first disciples did during the Pentecost. And they all acknowledged that this is because of the movement and intercession of the Holy Spirit. 

The meeting then happily concluded with a mass and a simple merienda (afternoon snack).