The Holy Father Pope Francis had selected the themes of the World Youth Days of 2017-2019 from the Gospel of St. Luke, putting the Blessed Virgin Mary at the heart of the reflections. According to the Holy Father when he spoke at the World Youth Day in Krakow, the themes “are intended to give a clear Marian tone to the spiritual journey of the next three WYDs” and at the same time “give a picture of young people on a journey between the past (2017), present (2018), and future (2019), inspired by the three theological virtues of faith, charity, and hope.”

With this in mind, the IVE (Institute of the Incarnate Word) Youth Day 2017, which was held at the De La Salle  in Lipa on the 12th of February 2017, took as its theme “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name” (Lk 1:49).

Several booths were setup featuring the various missions of the IVE around the world as well as a Bible display featuring a graphical presentation of Salvation History and various versions of the Sacred Scriptures in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Chinese, Sinhalese, Tamil, Tagalog, Spanish, etc. A Pro-Life stand featuring videos, brochures and life-sized models was prepared as well.

While the registration process was ongoing, the youths who arrived visited the stands to learn more about our Institute, the Bible and the life issues confronting our times.

The IVE seminarians and sisters of the SSVM were present to explain and guide them through the materials. In total, more than 500 youths from our Apostolates and the schools and colleges in Lipa, as well as from parishes in the diocese of Caloocan in Manila attended the event.

The Youth Day proper began with an introduction from some youths followed by the main talk by Dr. Ligaya Acosta, PhD, regional director of Asia and Oceania at Human Life International.  With a Doctorate in Management, and Bachelor Degrees in Law and Social Work, she worked for 28 years in the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) and was an avid promoter of contraceptives and a firm believer in population control. As a trainer, she actively advocated the use of condoms – even to high school students.

She was appointed Program Manager to oversee Natural Family Planning in the Philippines in early 2004 and discovered the deadly deception of the international pro-death propaganda. After doing extensive research that included acquiring dramatic first-hand testimonies of frontline public health workers (midwives, doctors, etc), and from the victims themselves, Dr. Acosta made a 180-degree turn and became a staunch pro-life advocate and activist. After her amazing conversion in 2004, Dr. Acosta undertook impassioned work to defend human life, faith, marriage, and the family, and worked to expose the deadly deception of the culture of death that she knew all too well.

She imparted this firm conviction very strongly to the youth so that they will be aware of the deceptions being fed them. The talk ended with a chastity pledge taken by the youth present.

After a break, during which the IVE brothers and SSVM sisters had a good time playing sports with the youth, 3 talks were presented.

The first, on the real history of the Philippines, which was presented in Tagalog by Br. Jasper Santos.

Two others, on vocations by Fr. Diego Ibarra, IVE and on the 4 Marks of the True Church, by Br. Andrew Khoo are also given at the same time.

A simple but delicious lunch was then served to all. Following this, several presentations were made by the IVE brothers and SSVM sisters and youth from San Celestino, and Calookan.

After another sports break, everyone adjourned to the field, for a procession in honour of Our Lady and the praying of the Holy Rosary. The procession terminated in the Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration, and the Eucharistic Dialogue.

The Youth Day ended with a Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. James Ty, IVE from the parish of Our Lady of Lujan in Caloocan in the Capilla de San Juan Bautista de La Salle. During the procession and also during the Mass, priests were available to hear the confessions of the youth. Guides for confession were distributed to ensure that a proper examination of conscience was able to be done prior to confession. Many youth availed themselves of the opportunity to reconcile themselves with God.

During the Mass, several people were received into the Third Degree of the Third Order of the IVE, formally incorporating them into our religious family. They signed the petition on the altar and were then invested with medals bearing the symbol of the Third Order.

Overall, the 5th IVE Youth Day 2017 was a tremendous and grace-filled event and we hope that this tradition will continue in the years to come.