The Recollect Augustinian Youth Summit (RAYS) is a youth gathering of the many Recollect parishes and schools of the Philippines in one venue – the Casiciaco Recollect Seminary (CaReS). In RAYS, one experiences the life of being a seminarian, yet mixed with fun activities and presentations prepared by the seminarians. Together with Portia Ubarra, Christian John Resaba, Anna Mareine Alisaca and Kelvin Ruel Novabos and under the supervision of Mrs. Maria Zita Tomaroy and Fr. Jay Parilla, I joined the 7th RAY Summit.
In the course of the summit, you’ll see different people from different walks of life. When describing the summit, one would imagine endless prayers and novenas because of its dedication to holiness. Actually, it’s not really all that. The seminarians made it to a point that the delegates would truly appreciate the beauty and the essence of the praise and worship. Same goes with the priests who truly jammed with us and gave us comedic, but reflective homilies. With the chilly breeze of Baguio, one may surely want to fall asleep, but it’s easy not to because of the fun that one experiences as he participates in the activities. Because of the seclusion of the venue and the breezy atmosphere, one can encounter God at its finest. They really made it to a point wherein the youth can really relate much to the Lord.
RAYS had a soul-angel grouping. Each seminarian (angel) is assigned to one or two particular delegates (souls). They will be together during the entire run of the summit. The angels would accommodate their souls if ever they needed anything. You’d be lucky if you get paired up with your pais*. Though, the bonding is much felt during the Lucernarium wherein each finds comfort within the other after an intimate encounter with God in the silence of hearts.
They also had talks lined up from various speakers which included priests and a representative from Kerygma Magazine. When I think about talks and seminars, usually it would mean a Sleeping Contest Borefest! This time, they really did it differently and I couldn’t even blink to miss anything. The speakers really know how to work out a crowd. They educated the youth with their conviction, and they let the youth realize the power of Love and the letting go of material things. After that, there is the group sharing wherein each one is assigned to a particular group for the reflection based on what the talk was about. Initially, I began to feel weird about sharing certain things with a bunch of strangers. However, there was that feel of belonging and acceptance. As such, one can never really feel lonely.
You can always have fun in youth gatherings like RAYS. In RAYS, they have the Youth Festival wherein everyone enjoys the animations prepared, and anyone can take center stage and dance at their hearts’ end. They even have games prepared like the Amazing Race and the Sportsfest. Surely, I never did even feel hungry since we had three complete meals and two snacks a day. We also got a city tour in Baguio – visiting sites like the Philippine Military Academy, the Mansion, Burnham Park, etc.
RAYS is also an event wherein you get to see the priests have fun and jam with the youth as well. Guys might probably be inspired to enter the seminary and give priesthood a try.
Take it from me. RAY Summit is surely an experience I can never really forget. Probably a highlight in my highschool life. I hope during the 8th RAY Summit, many of our Josenians would join. The more, the merrier. If you wanna get closer to God and yet have as much fun, then this is it. Join the Recollect Augustinian Youth Summit, and see yourself change.
*pais – short for paisano, meaning kababayan