18 Youth Pages

posted Oct 10, 2018, 10:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 10, 2018, 10:54 AM ]

Discovering our Catholic heritage

On Sunday 30 September 2018, the Young Adults Association (YAA) of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Orlem, Malad visited the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum. 32 young adults (25-40 years) together with our Spiritual Director, Fr Oniel Rodrigues, set out on a sunny Sunday, expecting an afternoon of fun and laughter coupled with glimpses of Bombay's rich Catholic heritage. The heritage displayed, however, went beyond glimpses; especially for the contemplative ones, it gave cues to dig deep and find hidden Christian meaning in everyday Catholic objects.

We were greeted by a young, enthusiastic and well-trained team that gave us a guided tour of the museum. Our chirpy guide Joynel shared legends, facts, and even a few theological insights on various pieces at the museum. This truly gave more meaning to each artifact, and in a sense, brought to life the essence behind it. Be it the importance of Cardinal Valerian Gracias in uniting Catholic churches in India or understanding the contemplative idea behind the monstrance design, our guide was equipped with plenty of well-researched facts.

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Beyond comfort zones

Genfest 2018 in Manila, Philippines, inspired over 6000 youth to discover God beyond all borders. Borders are not just physical boundaries separating countries and continents, but are often subtle fault lines that divide people on the basis of their identity. Challenging the notion that such physical, social or personal borders are too huge to scale, as sometimes portrayed by the national and global discourse in the media, Genfest 2018 was held from July 6-8, 2018, with the timely, inspiring theme 'Beyond All Borders'. An almost immediate effect of this global gathering was active fund-raising and resource mobilisation by the youth in India for the Kerala flood relief.

Spoilt for choice? Choose Unity

Organised by the Youth for a United World (Y4UW) of the international Focolare Movement, Genfest 2018 was held outside Europe for the first time in its 40-year-old history. And it is only natural that the colourful continent of Asia, which can be called the birthplace of dialogue, hosted this mega youth festival with over 6000 participants from more than 100 countries and 15 different religious beliefs, speaking 25 distinct languages. With moving testimonies from youth facing the migrant crisis to a profound artistic presentation of caste discrimination, Genfest 2018 addressed some of the key challenges confronting our generation today.

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A Retreat to move forward

On October 2, 2018, the Mount Carmel Youth Council organised a one-day Retreat for the youth entitled, ‘Come to Jesus’. Since a majority of the youth were attending a retreat for the first time, there was an air of suspense. They kept their distractions away with their minds and hearts open to experiencing Jesus. A total of 155 youth attended the retreat.

The day began with songs of praise and worship that flowed into beautifully prepared preaching, given by the members of Jesus the Real Vine Prayer Group. They spoke to us about Salvation, Repentance, Prayer and other topics that the youth could relate to.

The inner healing session put a stop to our constant chaotic rush and brought about a calm and peaceful silence. It was encouraging to see how the presence of Jesus, in the form of the Blessed Sacrament, brought healing to so many of us in more ways than one. All we needed was a little faith.

Celebrating the Eucharist brought about a stellar end to the retreat. During Mass, Fr Daniel taught us about the importance and power of prayer, and how to incorporate it in our daily lives. Some youth shared their experience at the retreat:

Lauren Menezes: It was quite inspiring. Helped to strengthen my spiritual relationship with God. The sessions were really helpful. I definitely felt more connected to God at the end of it. Looking forward to more youth retreats.

Jason Borges: The experience at the youth retreat was life changing. It changed my perception of looking at God and the Church. I personally realised how we have to pray.

Natalia Gonsalves: My experience was really good. I had a lot of questions running through my mind; I kept asking God, ‘Why do such things happen to me?’ And I got my answer, ‘Everything happens for a reason.’

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