Being alone with God was not the only goal for the youth of St Emilie’s parish in Canning Vale who began preparing for Christmas with a three-day retreat and camp at the beginning of Advent in Busselton.
The aim of the retreat – held at the Catholic Youth Camp – was to re-ignite the flame of faith among young Catholics of the parish.
Twenty eight youth, aged from 15 to 29, were led by assistant priest Father Emmanuel Dimobi and Sister Lilian Bong, a Sister of St Joseph of the Apparition.
They had chosen the theme Ignite to usher in the Advent Season in both the Year of Grace and the Year of Faith.
Aside from making the commitment to be alone with God over the retreat’s three days from November 30 to December 2, they were also hoping the event would help renew youth ministry in their parish.
In order to do so, they chose to recommit themselves to the faith-filled life of the Church and its Sacraments.
Items on their agenda ranged from spiritual input sessions to fun-filled, team building activities focused on the Word of God and the Catholic Faith.
Among the retreat’s highlights was Schoenstatt Sr Rebecca Sampang who spoke on the gift of the Church’s Sacraments and Faith.
She also answered questions about living as young Catholics in a secular world often dominated by an absence of spiritual life; materialism and a culture of individualism are widespread.
The session continued with “Praise and worship” followed by “Holy Hour of Grace”.
Many participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation which lasted till midnight.
Mass was celebrated daily; the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent was celebrated at the Camp’s seaside site.
Participants re-committed themselves to youth ministry in their parish by resolving to re-commence regular youth meetings once a month in the parish hall.
Among those responsible for the success of the event were Parish Youth Leaders Adeline Bock and Nigel Avares; members of the Youth Core Group Jun Suarez, Lauren Thong, and Jose Macapagal; and parishioners and friends of youth including Aunty Anne, Maureen and Uncle Gary Woodford.
Fr Dimobi encouraged participants, asserting that in the near future, St Emilie’s will produce the “best Youth Group” in the Archdiocese.