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March 9, 2023

Lenten youth revival in Carenage

The Synod calls for an evaluation of our relationship and interaction with young adults. Parents, teachers, and Church leaders must find ways to understand youth; assist them in coping with worldly challenges; and provide support when they experience difficulties at home, school or among their peers.

The Youth Group Committee at St Peter’s RC Church, Carenage was reengaged post Covid and the vision of Fr Harold Imamshah is to revive and reignite the youth spirit in our community by keeping them engaged and encouraging their involvement in various parish activities.

On February 25, the Confirmation students and other young adults were invited to attend Part 1 of a Lenten Youth Retreat. It was a dynamic and wonderful retreat and there was a great turn out from the youths in the parish. The theme of the retreat was – Who Am I?

The Youth Group Committee led the retreat, and the young adults were encouraged to spend some time playing games and getting to know each other better. There was an inspirational and motivational video shown entitled ‘You Are Who God Says You Are’.

The video emphasised God’s love for us and that He created us for a special purpose. Our identity doesn’t come from people or things – our true identity is who God says we are.

Understanding who we are in Christ, should supply the strength to face temptations and challenges and pave the way for a foundation on which our lives could be built.

In the discussion that followed, the young adults were asked to consider the questions: ‘What do I think about myself?’; ‘What do others think about me?’; ‘What does God think about me?’.

In the second part of the retreat, the young adults were reminded that they were beautifully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God. They were introduced to the concept of temperaments taken from the book The Temperament God Gave You written by Art and Laraine Bennett.

The youths were tasked with identifying some of their weaknesses and were asked to work on them for the remaining of the Lenten journey.

Fr Imamshah led the last segment of the retreat and encouraged the youths to talk about what they enjoyed doing. He asked them to consider how they could extend this to helping in the parish and in the community.

We recognised that there was so much talent in the room and with positive encouragement and support, the youths were willing to volunteer for various activities.

They took part in an activity where they were asked to write their ideas on the back of a flame, which was a sign of their commitment towards the church.

The retreat concluded with a Mass and the children joined the procession to the altar, holding their flames which were then placed in an arrangement at the base of the altar.

The retreat renewed and inspired many of the parishioners who felt a sense of hope and were encouraged by the enthusiasm of the youths who actively participated in the Mass.

Reflecting on the retreat, the youths learnt what it means to be special, to be unique and a masterpiece in the eyes of God.

Part 2 of the retreat will be held on March 25 and we look forward to another great turnout and a revival of youth participation in the community and the church.

—Michelle Newallo