World Youth Day (WYD) was celebrated in Panama from January 19-26, 2019. Many Youth Groups from all over Belize had the beautiful opportunity to attend. On the other hand, there were still many who could not attend because of various reasons. With this in mind, Mrs. Melissa Espat, Director of Campus Ministry at St. John’s College Junior College (SJCJC) and her eager team of volunteers and presenters, had the idea to have the first ever “World Youth Day Belize” to target those who were not able to attend WYD in Panama.

With much creativity and careful planning, the idea  took shape with unwavering support from administrators and management of  St. John’s College, Encounter Leaders from Campus Ministry from SJCJC, the BIONIC Club of SJCJC, Servant Leadership Students from SJCJC, IPCP Youth Ministry assistance, and a willing team of  capable presenters.

The dream became a reality when World Youth Day Belize was celebrated on Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at SJC’s Weber Audio Visual Room. A total of 110 youth attended the World Youth Day Belize from various Youth Ministries/Groups and colleges representing from San Ignacio, Belmopan, San Pedro and Belize City. The opening activities commenced in the Weber Audio Visual Room and later moved into the Weber classrooms where workshops and presentations were conducted. The youths in attendance were presented with topics such as: God in All Things – presented by Fr. Jeremy Zipple, S.J.; Art as a Form of Prayer presented by Mr. Damian Perdomo;  Friend in Need -presented by BIONIC Club of SJCJC; Service to Others – presented by Servant Leaders Campus Ministry SJCJC; Why Trust presented by Encounter Leaders Campus Ministry SJCJC; Service to the Environment – presented by Mr. Amir Juarez; Praise and Worship Techniques – presented by Mr. Emmanuel Mangar and Mr. Silas Sabal, Parts of the Mass presented by Ms. Indira Chavarria and Ms. Edita Pariente. From the workshops, the youth had an enjoyable lunch where they were entertained by an impromptu karaoke. The afternon kicked off with a fun filled activity of team building in the yard; the youth were then ushered over to Fordyce Memorial Chapel for Praise and Worship, confession, Adoration and a grand Mass to end the day celebrated by Bishop Lawrence Nicasio and concelebrated by Fr. Jeremy Zipple, S.J. and Fr. David Mumba, SOLT.

The Integrated Pastoral Communication Plan (IPCP) Committee along with Bishop Nicasio, would like to congratulate Mrs. Melissa Espat and her able team for such a wonderful endeavor. These are the types of initiative that are needed in the diocese with collaboration, communion and commitment – the key elements for an IPCP. The diocese encourages all parishes to move forward with initiatives and activities such as these to attract our young people to be guardians and soldiers for Christ.