PASTORAL LETTER TO THE YOUTH OF BATAAN
My dear young people of Bataan:
Young people of Bataan you are all precious to us, your priests and religious in the diocese. We cherish you and all that we do is for your future and well being. We desire that you will have an orderly, peaceful and fruitful life. We wish for you what St. Luke wrote in the Gospel about Jesus, “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and the favor of God was upon him” (Lk. 2:40).
With this in mind we are launching a program that will be a part of our daily life. This is a long-term undertaking that is focused at our way of life. Thus we seek your cooperation and collaboration. Let us help one another, and this is the reason for my letter to you.
We all have favorites. We have our favorite color, place, song, TV show, movie, even clothes. We have our favorite food, one that we can’t seem to get enough of. But I ask you now, would you be able to forego of your favorite things for a good reason? Will you be able to sacrifice these for a noble and worthy cause?
My dear youth, I tell you, we can. We can accomplish this and more because it is for our loved ones, because we value and treasure them. We will do this because of our love for them. As Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).
It is innate in us to be generous and kind-hearted. We always try to do go to others, especially to our families and friends. We are thoughtful and caring. Don’t parents dote on their children, always asking with concern, “My child, have you had anything to eat? What do food do you want for your snack?” It is natural for us to be open and slef-giving. We are hospitable to our visitors and are willing always to share our food, our home with them. To our loved ones we have no hesitation to give our last bite of food, our last centavo. We are reminded of what Jesus said, “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for fish” (Mt 7:9-10).
It is in our Filipino character to be share the good and beautiful things we have, even it may entail hardship and self-sacrifice. It is in this spirit that I ask you to do this act, not just one time but as a way of life. What is this act?
Isang snack ko sa isang linggo, isasakripisyo ko para sa iyo!
“One snack a week I sacrifice for love!”
One snack a week:
We eat three times, even five times in a single day. We start with breakfast, then lunch and dinner. In between we have snacks. For students, snacks mostly mean recess or break time, which is timed at mid-morning (around 10 a.m.) and mid-afternoon (around 3 p.m.). If you add these all up it can mean about 14 snacks in a week.
What we are asking for is only ONE of the possible 14 snacks that you usually partake in a week. We will not take one snack a week and the money that we would have spent for that snack we will save and contribute to the general fund of the diocese for social service. Here is how we calculated the monetary equivalent of a snack could be:
A Snack at home: Php5 to Php 50
A Snack in school: Php51 to Php100
A Snack in the mall: Php101 to Php 200
What our sacrifice translates to:
Our sacrifice and self-giving is aimed at worthy objectives. First, it is for our own good. It will show that we are willing and ready to sacrifice and and to forego comfort and pleasure, and that we can exercise self-control. St. Augustine counseled, “Sacrifice, though performed or offered by man, is something divine; that is why the ancient Latins gave it this name ‘sacrifice,’ of something sacred.” Second, this act is for others. We will be able to help others through our generosity and sacrifice will have meaning. The monetary value of the snacks that we will not have will go to a project earmarked by the Diocese of Balanga. All the funds coming from the Sacrificed Snacks will be gathered and on the fourth week will be offered at the celebration of the Holy Mass.
The Diocese will hand out envelopes to all who will be part of this undertaking. Here is what will be placed on the face of the envelope.
This is for you:
What we have saved will also come back to us. It will also be for our benefit and will redound to our good and the good of our communities, our diocese. Our first wave of Snacks of Sacrifice will be for the improvement of the Summer Camp in Barangas Peas. A more sturdy structure will be built with bricks and steel and concrete. There will be separate dormitories for boys and girls and quarters for priests. We will put up a fence around it and landscape the area. We will build a chapel under the title “Jesus the Divine Sower.”
We will value and treasure more the things that we work hard for. We will love more those that are a part of our life. This is what the Youth Summer Camp in Barangay Peas will be. It will be your home, a place where you can find physical refreshment and spiritual nourishment. We will improve it, take care of it, maintain it and benefit from it. I am assigning the four weeks of the month to our youth of the different vicariates:
First Saturday -- Vicariate of del Pilar
Second Saturday -- Vicariate of St. Michael the Archangel
Third Saturday – Vicariate of St. Dominic
Fourth Saturday -- Vicariate St. Peter of Verona
On these Saturdays we will pray and do our share. We will worship together and work together. This is our ora et labora. We will prepare a module for our Acts of Prayer and Work.
My dear young people our One Snack A Week I Sacrifice for Love is really our self-sacrifice towards self sanctification. From here we can make an offering and we can share with others for the good of our Diocese of Balanga. And our participation in the programs at the Youth Summer Camp will be our service, our fellowship with others, and our worship of God our Father.
The Diocese has you in mind in its plans and programs. It works for you and includes you in its policies and directions. Together we can do all this. Together we can achieve what we aspire for.
We ask our beloved St. Joseph to intercede for us and assist us in all our endeavors. May our Mary, our Mother, Queen of the Holy Rosary and Queen of our Peninsula, guide us always in our journey to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.
God bless you all.
+RUPERTO C. SANTOS, D.D.
Bishop of Balanga
01 November 2010