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God is with us – Mayaro Lenten Youth Retreat 2023

The parish of Sts Peter & Paul Mayaro is on a journey to ignite a Christ-like flame in the young people so that they can illuminate the lives of many.

Over the years, we have seen how youths are becoming smaller in number within the Church and as we all know, there is no future for the Church without the presence of youth. So, it’s only right that we reach out to them, to bring them back to God. Hence, the theme of the Retreat was God is with us.

With the theme in mind, we created a space for the 100+ youths from the Eastern Vicariate to really reflect by asking the question: “What can God help you with?”.

We asked that question because youths are always dealing with something,  whether it may be peer pressure, addictions, depression, anxiety etc.

To bring across the theme of the retreat, we created an activity where dried coconuts were hidden all over the church compound. On each coconut was a scripture verse connecting to the theme.

The youths went out in haste searching through the dried leaves, below the coconut trees, the sugar cane patch, just to find the hidden treasure.

You may ask what is the deeper meaning? Let me tell you! We are the hidden treasure God is constantly inviting back to Him!

Youths may sometimes feel like God isn’t there for them. They may feel neglected. They may feel like they are not welcomed.

I am a youth and I know the struggles that youths face, but I always say this to myself, “God wouldn’t give me more than I cannot handle”. I repeat this in every obstacle, in every situation that seems hopeless or too much to bear and God always sees me through it.

Sometimes we may get lost, sometimes we may be like the hidden coconuts out in the wilderness, sometimes our crosses might be too heavy to carry but we must always remember that God will always be there with His outstretched hand ready to journey with us through thick and thin. —Ray Clarke