Young Catholics from 100 countries gather in Manila

Genfest is a meeting of young people from around the world that started in 1973 in Rome.
Young Catholics from 100 countries gather in Manila

Ati children play with delegates of the 11th edition of Genfest on the island of Boracay ahead of a three-day gathering in Manila. (Photo by Jun Aguirre)

Young Catholics from around 100 countries are gathered in Manila for the July 6 start of an international youth festival organized by the global Focolare Movement.

The 11th edition of Genfest, which is being held for the first time outside Europe, carries the theme "Beyond All Borders." 

The three-day event aims to facilitate the "sharing of experiences" among young people, especially on culture and sustainable environment.

Gio Francisco, facilitator of the event, said workshops would be held simultaneously to encourage young people "to go beyond borders."

Other activities have already taken participants to the peripheries, including a trip to the island of Boracay to immerse with the Ati tribe.

"In this globalized world ... we are invited not to be afraid of the differences of the other and their cultures to contribute to a world that is more united and fraternal," said Father Emmanuel Mijares, convenor of the group Youth for a United World International.

Joseph Azoury from Lebanon expressed gratitude for the opportunity for cultural immersion with the Ati tribe on Boracay Island, which has been closed to tourists for six months until October.

Genfest is a meeting of young people from around the world that started in 1973 in Rome. It is held every five years. The last gathering was in Budapest, Hungary.

This year's event in Manila includes interactive explorations on various topics and experiential activities that aim to enrich knowledge and experience gained from workshops.

Founded in 1943 in Trent, Italy, by Chiara Lubich, the Focolare Movement, which has spread across 194 countries, is an ecclesial movement for social and spiritual renewal.

Lubich was an Italian Catholic activist who is considered one of the most important spiritual personalities of the 20th century.

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