The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declared 2011, in its 18 July 2010 meeting, to be the Year of Youth in the Philippines. Upon the request of the FIN Province, in coordination with the FIS, the Year of Youth in the country begins on 16 December 2010, the first day of the nation’s novena dawn masses in preparation for Christmas. This Philippine tradition called the “misa de gallo” is meant “to preserve the Catholic faith” in this largely Catholic country in Asia, and the first day of these novena masses is dedicated for the intention of the evangelization of youth.
In their letter of request to the bishops, FIN mentioned the visit of the casket of St. John Bosco to FIS (5-22 Dec) and to FIN (23 Dec-15 Jan) as a reason to begin the year of youth at the start of the liturgical year, not the civil or school year. The bishops indeed recognized this visit of “the father and teacher of youth” as a “providential opportunity.”
While this provides an opportunity for FIN and FIS to make known the person and the mission of St. John Bosco to the larger church and society, the responsibility for the evangelization of the youth of the Philippines becomes for the confreres now much wider than those of their own educative-pastoral communities.