Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi of the Archdiocese of Caceres has issued a series of pastoral letters on the upcoming elections. One such letter is addressed particularly to the youth.

The archbishop acknowledges that politicians are so keen on getting the youth vote that they are willing to spend millions or do just about anything to get their attention and approval. In his letter, the archbishop calls on the youth to stand up and make a difference. He offers five practical things young people can do to make a difference in the May elections.

He admonishes the youth to (1) choose well, (2) speak up, (3) organize themselves, (4) join and be part of initiatives geared towards a clean and honest elections, and (5) to "let the Truth be the compass of your actions and Love be the principle of your life".


"Do not be Overcome by Evil , But Conquer Evil with Good"

My Dear People of God in Caceres,

This 5th Sunday of Lent, I resume the series of pastoral letters on the Elections 2007. This instance, however, I particularly address the YOUTH in Caceres and all the young people who may have a hearing of this.

I address you, my dear young people, mainly because of, but not exclusively due to the upcoming elections. It is my desire to reflect with you the important and urgent task of renewing our institutions, communities and our society.

I address the majority of you who are in the schools -preparing yourselves to face the world; I address you who are out-of-school youth and those who have to work early in life to survive. I address you, the youth in the different professional careers: the health care workers and professionals; the young people in business; those in the government service and those with the non-governmental groups. I address the young people in the military; in the clergy and religious; the young people in politics, in the media and in the entertainment business. I speak to the Filipino youth, wherever you are, but most especially you who are here in the Archdiocese.

The Predicament of Our Youth Today
It has often been repeated about the youth: "You are the future and the future belongs to you". But it is also correct to say that the present already belongs to you. Look around: How many young people do you see in the field of politics, in the academe, in the entertainment business, in the streets and in marketplaces? Aren't we are a country of young people.

Most of you, at a very young age, have been exposed to many evils and carry the burdens of society. The difficulties of family life are not unknown to you. Many of you experience the pangs of poverty and ignorance. There are those of you who had quit school to survive. There are among you, disillusioned by the corruption and poverty around, who have embraced ideologies to face these evils. There are those of you who, convinced that the country cannot give a future, envision leaving it. There are those of you who feel hopeless; that politics is but a waste of time. And there are those who do not care about politics, because there are other pressing concerns.

Despite these grim realities, however, I remind you: "Do not be overcome by evil". (Rom 12:21) I believe the youth has not altogether lost its hope. I believe there is still idealism in you, for it is in the nature of the young to bring freshness into the many dimensions of life.

The Role of Youth
And here we are again, preparing for the elections. The scenario may not at all be encouraging. How many elections have we had? Certainly, the elections is not the solution to our difficulties. In fact, it could be said, that the way we conduct our elections is the cause of many evils in society. Moreover, not all of you are able to vote. So why bother?

Dear young people, the elections, while it is not the solution to poverty, is one of the most significant exercises of our democratic system, by which you and our people are involved firsthand in the selection of our leaders. Your votes are so important, that politicians spend millions and will do anything just to win your votes.

It is not elections itself which is the problem, but the way we conduct the elections. We need to do something to change.

We could simply be passive spectators. It is very tempting not to care and let things happen before our very eyes. But can you afford to be passive and indifferent, when it is your life and future which is at stake? Will you simply wait for things to happen before your very eyes and allow things to get worse without you doing something about it?

My dear young people, as Catholics and Christians, it is an error to allow ourselves to be defeated by cynicism and despair. In your hands is the capacity to transform society. Consider the following points:

  1. 1. Youth is a gift to humanity. Your youth brings newness and freshness in the different dimensions of our life. Such freshness is a gift to the family, to communities, and to the country.
  2. In the youth, there is power. One only needs to remember the 1986 peaceful revolution. How many young people marched to the streets to express disgust with the dictatorship? In 1995, during the World Youth Day, there was the largest human assembly in history, 5 million people majority of whom were young people. There is in the young the capacity for self-discipline, of committing themselves to the highest levels, and the readiness to change radically the false values which have enslaved so many young people and adults.
  3. The Youth are an agent of renewal. The history of humanity is marked by countless young people who made a difference in the world. Mary, at a young age, answered God's invitation. Jesus did his public ministry and offered his life at a young age. The history of the Church is replete with saints who at their young age have become instruments of renewal. Their lives are a testimony that fidelity and commitment are not impossible.

There is great potential in the youth. The youth is a compelling force in the task of renewing our institutions and the society.

Pastoral Suggestions
I call upon you then to stand up and make a difference! Do not be passive spectators. Do not just sit by and watch history unfold before your eyes. You are the subjects of history. Show the world that you care. The way you respond to present day realities will determine the future.

Your single vote may seem insignificant, but it is the collected individual votes that catapults a candidate to a position of power. Your individual contribution may seem very small, but it is the collected small good works that bring change. There is power in youth. There is power in one.

You share the same dignity and freedom of each human person. You have the capacity to tell which practices and offers are an insult to your freedom and dignity. You have the ability to determine who is sincere and truthful. You can tell who is pretentious and insincere. You can determine those who simply take advantage of you.

Dear young people, make a difference. I admonish you then to:

Choose well. Be cautious of every proposition. Have the courage to say no. Because the measure of maturity is not in ones capacity to disobey rules or engage into something adventurous. But it is how you live up to the truth.

Speak up. Let us, your elders, know that you deserve a bright future. That you are disgusted with dirty politics and that you deserve leaders who will truly bring you to real growth and progress.

Organize yourselves. Help your fellow youth. You can do a whole lot more when you work together. Join groups who have genuine desires and practicable directions of service.

Join and be part of initiatives begun by the Church, by your parishes by youth movements, non-governmental groups, socio-civic and religious groups geared towards a clean and honest elections. You can be volunteers of the PPCRV, Namfrel and other related initiatives.

Finally, let the Truth be the compass of your actions and Love be the principle of your life.

Further Call to Action and Prayer and a Call to Elders
Dear young people, do not be discouraged. In you is much strength and potential. Your fellow youth needs you. Think about your fellow young people who cannot go to school; those who are abandoned and orphaned; the sick; handicapped; the poor and the uneducated; and those in difficulties. Live not simply for yourselves, but be young people for others.

Thus, you cannot afford to be indifferent. Do something. The saying goes: "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem". And didn't Jesus say: "He who is who is not with me is against me. He who does not gather with me, scatters". (Luke 11:23)

Before concluding, I call on our elders: parents, leaders and pastors: It is our duty to show our youth the right way. It is our obligation to assist them so that they may be able to contribute to the renewal of society. They deserve the best from us. Let us pass on to them, not the veil of crookedness, but the the torch of goodness.

In conclusion: let me remind you all, lest we end up in empty activism: We need the Lord in all our endeavors. We do not engage in action just for the sake of it. We intend to uplift lives in accordance with the values of the Gospel and in view of the Kingdom of God. Do not lose sight of the City of God, to which all our striving are to be directed.

Young people, pray hard that you may not be overcome by evil. And with God as our companion and guide, let us seek to Conquer Evil with Good.

+Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D.

Archbishop of Caceres
March 25, 2007

  history I spirituality I charism I ministry I staff I news I photos I videos I contact us  
(c) 2010 congregation of Daughters of Saint Augustine
4413 Philippines, Camarines Sur, Iriga City, San Agustin, Villa Felicima Coral st. "Fatima Center for Human Development"
Tel.: (0063 54) 299 22 89; (0063 54) 655 01 30 Fax: (0063 54) 655 0747
e-mail: center_fatima@yahoo.com
Hosted by uCoz