RAYNS Day 2: Talks center on youth evangelization, sex, and sexuality

Baguio City — A priest active in the youth ministry was the lone speaker during the second day of the 13th Recollect Augustinian Youth National Summit (RAYNS) held at Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary in this city last January 21, 2020.

Fr. Juvelan Paul Samia, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco, discussed for the whole day two relevant issues with the RAY delegates, namely: youth evangelization in the morning; and sex and sexuality in the afternoon.

Summit theme: “I am RAY: A Message and a Messenger”

After a brief welcome program by the seminarians at the seminary façade, the RAY delegates congregated at the seminary chapel and listened to Fr. Samia who told them that they hold the key to modern-day evangelization.

“Paano ba maabot ang mga kabataang hindi abot ng Simbahan?” he asked. “Ang sagot ay alam ng kabataang Agustino Rekoleto!”

(How to reach out to the youths out of the Church’s reach? The answer is known by the Recollect Augustinian Youth!)

Fr. Samia, who is the head of the Salesian Youth Movement Philippines–North Province, told the delegates that the Church needs their creativity in reaching out to other youths who do not yet enjoy the friendship of Jesus as much as they do.

The day begins with the Lauds and Meditation held at the seminary façade.

He enjoined them not to shy away from the task because what they are proclaiming are not their own message but God’s. But to be effective in what they would do, he said, it is imperative that they “make an honest effort to live the Gospel message” by living “authentic” Christian lives.

“Our words would lack the power necessary to move people if we do not live up to the mystery we represent,” he said.

He said the question is not whether what the Christians preach is true or not, but whether Christians can practice what they preach.

“The world acknowledges that our Catholic message is correct and true. But we can be imposing sometimes, which greatly turns people off,” he said.

Hence, more than preaching with words, he echoed the rector of the seminary, Fr. Bernard C. Amparado, OAR, who had charged the delegates a day earlier to preach with examples.

“Be careful in everything that you say or do,” Fr. Samia said. “You might be the only Gospel accessible to others.”

The Church, Sex, and Sexuality

The discussions got steamy in the afternoon as Fr. Samia shifted gears and moved from the concerns of modern-day evangelization to the intimate topics of sex and sexuality.

He said society propagates a misconception that the Catholic Church “would want to starve the world from sex,” a fact which he claimed to have been far from the truth.

“Kalugod-lugod po sa mata ng Diyos ang pagkikipagtalik sa tamang tao, sa tamang panahon, at sa tamang kondisyon,” he said.

(Sex with the right person at the right time and in the right condition is pleasing to the eyes of God.)

Br. Bryan Palaya (leftmost) facilitates the group discussion after every session given by Fr. Samia.

He said God, the author of sex, intended sex to be an expression of unitive and procreative love between the man and the woman bound together by the sacrament of matrimony.

Using St. John Paul II’s famous lecture series compiled into a book called “Theology of the Body”, Fr. Samia said sin has so “wounded” and “distorted” the heart of the man and the woman so that instead of giving and sacrificing in the name of love, man resorts to taking for himself; instead of love-making, sex becomes lustful.

He said the man, endowed with physical and interior strength, is called to mirror God in the Old Testament who is a warrior. The woman, for her part, is supposed to mirror God’s mystery and should be modest in her manners.

“But the woundedness of man’s heart causes him to dominate others, prove many things because he feels he is not strong enough,” Fr. Samia said. “The woundedness of a woman’s heart makes her think she is not beautiful enough, so she resorts to immodest behavior in order to affirm her desirability.”

He insisted that man is supposed to be a warrior and love and protect the woman, even from himself. The woman, on the other hand, should reserve her body for him to whom she would give the right to love her for the rest of her life, sealed by the sacrament of holy matrimony, and not just to anybody else.

“The body is not just biological, but more importantly, theological,” he said. “It reveals God: who he is and what his plans for us are.” He added that apart from each other, neither man nor woman makes complete sense.

Fr. Neil Jarumay, OAR (leftmost) accompanies the RAY delegates from Casian Island, Palawan.

“I will have to say this very respectfully, but firmly: man is not made for another man,” he said. “Our bodies are a reminder of who we are and who we are called to be.”

He said Jesus Christ did not just save man’s soul from eternal damnation, but his body as well. Physical strength, he added, is part of being man. But what defines man more than anything else is his interior strength.

“Jesus Christ is the model of manhood which we ought to imitate because he showed true interior strength when he spread his arms on the cross to save us all. That is the true meaning of masculinity.”

The summit, slated from January 20 to 24, 2020, was attended by 159 Raysters (as they are called) from 20 Recollect communities from all over the country.

Features image caption: Fr. Juvelan Paul Samia, SDB, talks for the whole day about two relevant issues with the RAY delegates, namely: youth evangelization in the morning; and sex and sexuality in the afternoon.

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