Papal Nuncio to youth: ?Be strong in faith, constant in hope ?

The Papal Nuncio issued this appeal during his homily Thursday noon, Day 2 of the National Youth Day. The homily, focusing on the assembly’s theme, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a lamp to my path,” echoed the Pope's message to the World Youth Day participants in Germany in April.

He celebrated the mass at the Ateneo de Davao University High School Campus, one of the three catechetical sites of the Catholic youth gathering here.

Filoni acknowledged the Muslims and participants from other religions.

NYD organizers earlier issued statements on the participation of non-Catholics and Muslim youth through the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC).

"Though the event is facilitated by Catholics, their main objective is to gather young Filipinos to show them that the (Catholic) church loves them," NYD steering committee chair Dennis Villegas said.

Cheryl Vilog of the NYD media desk confirmed at least 19 Muslim youth among the participants as of Nov. 7.

Filoni came to the mass with security guards provided by the Army's Task Force Davao and the Davao City Police Office.

The NYD secretariat confirmed the registration of 7,450 participants to the five-day gathering as of Nov. 9 afternoon, including 211 walk-in participants. For three days, starting today, participants will attend catechetical sessions in the three locations in Ateneo de Davao University, University of Immaculate Conception (Bajada) and the Holy Cross of Davao City.

This afternoon, formation talks were given in the three sites. Participants said they were assigned to a set of topics in their catechetical sites.  A youth festival will also be held in the evening of Nov. 9.

On Nov. 10, there will be theater presentations from the participants and hosts and a Holy Hour in the evening in their respective sites.

On Nov. 11, after the morning Catechesis in the three sites, the participants will flock to the central venue in Shrine Hills in Matina for a pilgrim walk, the closing mass, dinner and youth jam. The fifth day is an optional tour day with foster families.

TF Davao commanding officer Col. Eduardo del Rosario told reporters after the mass that the NYD is peaceful with no reports of pickpocketing, the usual offense during similar events.