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The Joy I Found with the Youth

By Ma. Fe Corazon P. Arienza

Ma. Fe Corazon "Azon" Arienza is from Cabadbaran City, Agusan Del Norte. She was a youth leader of the Parish Youth Apostolate in Candelaria, Cabadbaran and a member of the Oasis of Love Community. With Hazel Jean Angwani, she is currently undergoing the Columban lay missionary Orientation program.

Columban Lay Missionary PH 25 in Orientation: Ma. Fe Corazon Arienza and Hazel Jean Angwani

My love and passion for service sprang from my experience with a Diocesan priest back at my hometown. His name is Fr. Isaac Manuel Moran. Me and my childhood friends used to accompany Fr. Moran when he celebrated mass in Pirada, a small town in Cabadbaran City. I love how he made all of the people there happy with just his presence and the way he made them feel that they are cared for especially the little ones. When I thought it was Fr. Moran who gave so much joy to those people, he told us instead that it’s the other way around. I found it hard then to understand, until I joined the Parish Youth Apostolate.

My involvement in the Parish Youth Apostolate (PYA) was mainly on giving youth ministry formation, basically on how to develop and sustain parish youth ministry. Together with other PYA youth leaders, I was assigned to specific areas for chapel visitation. I can say that this was the happiest moment in my ministry, requiring not much of intelligence but a heart for service and for the youth. The sense of fulfillment I experienced at the end of the day was nothing compared to how my day ended at work. Both required a lot of time and effort but differed in the way it made me feel after the task was done. My work with the youth was very tiring but it’s the kind of exhaustion that did not wear me off. It rather rejuvenated and gave me so much energy, inspiring me to create programs for the youth in line with workshop formations. I guess this was where I honed my organizational and planning skills.

Azon giving recollection to youth leaders, Missionary Sisters of Mary Retreat House, Cabadbaran, February 2016

Working with the youth was not always fun and happy. There were also trials that we, as youth, had to face, both external and internal. There were instances that I had to stop in the middle of my involvement with the ministry because of misunderstandings, which is inevitable in every organization, but it didn’t stop me to look for other opportunities where my help was needed. These were occasions where I got to examine how truthful I was to my vocation.

It took me a long time to realize what Fr. Moran meant with what he said about how those people gave him so much joy more than what he had given them. It was during those chapel visitations that I understood how the youth made me love God and His people more than myself. This was where I found joy in serving, understood myself better, and became more open and selfless.

To quote my favorite verses from Ruth, “for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried”. In whatever way, with whatever challenges, the goodness of the experience propels me to continue my vocation to love, to the service of humanity.

April 2016 Summer Youth Camp
Azon with youth leaders from the different chapels at the culmination of chapel visitation, Candelaria Institute covered court