On this Year of the Youth, the Diocese of Butuan organized the 1st Diocesan Youth Convention (DYC) last May 25, 2019 at FSUU Gym in Butuan City. The Commission on Youth and the Social Communications Ministry, in partnership with Father Saturnino Urios University, and the Butuan City Local Government Unit volted in for this historic DYC. The young people came in droves, representing the eleven vicariates from Butuan, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur. The whole day event kicked off with a celebration of the Eucharist presided by Rev. Fr. Kits G. Butardo, Director of the Social Communications Ministry and one of the convenors of the DYC. Rev. Fr. Junrey V. Aguillon, Chairman of the Commission on Youth, delivered the homily, reminding the youth that the presence of Christ makes us truly alive. Several other priests concelebrated in the Mass.
The first talk was on “Fake News and Social Media” by Rev. Fr. Jessel Gerald “Jboy” M. Gonzales, SJ. He zeroed in on making the young people more discerning of the five kinds of fake news that have become commonplace in the internet. He also shared about becoming online missionaries of God by giving out a few tips to help the youth make their posts more meaningful and more substantial on social media. The jam and praise alternated in between the talks, and this kept the youth on their feet. After lunch, the second talk on Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si” was shared by Rev. Fr. Richie Gomez, MSC. It was a passionate awakening of one’s role in the preservation of our own planet and the small things one can do to help Mother Nature breathe more easily. At the end of the day, the young people spontaneously disposed of their trash in a very orderly manner. It was a lesson learned and acted upon immediately. The last talk by Rev. Fr. Randy Jasper C. Odchigue was “#IkawNa: The Youth: The Hope of the Church” hyped the young people as they rediscover the beauty of kind acts and how these acts could eventually become a lifestyle. Fr. Randy brought home his message to the youth by using an approach that plays with common “hugot” and memes. His sharing solicited numerous and colorful reactions from the participants in a way which only the youth could muster.
Two of Butuan's pride, Hannah Hakami of the Voice Kids Philippines (Season 3) and Lance Busa, winner of the Bolt of Talent entertained the delegates with choice songs that expressed the themes of the various talks. At the end of the day’s events, each one was revitalized with the energy radiated by the young people of the diocese. It was a positive, refreshed, productive, and hope-filled dynamism that animated the youth as they trace their steps back to their respective parishes. With a new episcopate looming ahead, the Diocese of Butuan is confident that there is so much prospect among the youth of the diocese – the hope of the Church.