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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Diocesan Youth Apostolate Goes Into Action Again

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Sandakan : 27 participants gathered at St Peter's Chapel, Sungai Manila, some 34 km from Sandakan town for a three-day-two-night stay-in camp from Friday 8th - Sunday 10th June 2012. The camp, jointly organized by the Diocesan Youth Apostolate and St. Mary's Cathedral Parish Youth Apostolate was to prepare the youth spiritually before leaving for Tambunan to attend the upcoming 3rd Sabah Youth Day in August.  It was also aimed at cultivating and strengthening relationship between the youth of St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Peter's Chapel.

The chapel, a concrete building with a seating capacity of 100 people, is sited close to the main road a midst a lush of greenery of oil palm and fruit trees. Adjacent to it, is a little man-made fish pond and a nice garden fronting the chapel. The setting is most  conducive for camps. Uncle Majin, the caretaker and family hosted the participants.
The program started at 7.00 pm with a dinner fellowship followed by icebreaker games facilitated by Royner Patrick. It ensured that everyone was feeling comfortable, energized and prepared  to get started for the next day's activities. The session ended at around 10.00 pm.
"Know your friend" is a game where we need to choose a partner and asked him/her about his/her biodata. Participants had all the opportunity to talk, befriend and know each other more.  The warm-up exercise had  brought the youth from St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Peter's Chapel closer .
With Christ in the Vessel, We can smile in the Storm
The following day, Saturday 9th June, we started our session with a Morning Prayer led by Anna and we were divided into small groups to do our reflection based on the reading for the day, taken from Mark 12, themed 'The poor widow's contribution.' After which we had our breakfast followed by action songs and games. The activities carried out on the first night and the early part of the program on day two had helped the youth to be more comfortable with each other, ready to move forward to the next level. 
After savoring the "appetizer", the youth were introduced to the morning session given by Anna Teresa Amandus. She showed them the history and the journey of the Youth Cross through video clips. It was carried from parish to parish throughout the Diocese of Sandakan in preparation of the upcoming 3rd Sabah Youth Day. It touched the hearts of the youth for it has a huge personal impact on them.
'The Youth Cross, its impact and influence on me' by Raimo Kinted
The second part of the session was facilitated by Sharon Tan - 'Challenges faced by local youth.' Split into groups, the youth shared on the challenges faced by them and their peers in their own place. They faced many problems in today's world; spiritual, emotion, mental and social matters. They are to set their sights on Christ and to depend on His guidance and to adopt His Words in their daily living. For this, the young people need support, a crucial element necessary to lead a Christian life.
"To my dearest son..."
"To my beautiful daughter. Love, Your Father"
Sharing the content of the letter, it was from Him.
The following session was to pause, step back and in solitude,  listened to what God had to say to each and all. In prayerful discernment, participants then penned down what God had conveyed to them. Participants would then pick their buddies, exchanged their writings and had them read out. It was a meaningful exercise, making them realized the message of God for each individual.
After having a personal and wonderful time with God, we played 'Big Squeeze' and the 'Paralytic Man' It was not just a game of fun but the awareness of the message behind it ~ a story of great faith in the Lord.
Bryan ~ 'Believing in the objectives is by doing it'
The next session was given by Airene A. Gunamas, the Chairperson of the Parish Youth Apostolate regarding the objectives of SYD-3;

# That the youth will be aware to the call to live a life of holiness
# That  the youth will be living witnesses of Christ, rejecting the negative effect of globalization
# That the youth will be prepared  as future leaders of the local Church
Majin's family, the youth and parishioners of St. Peter's Chapel
Praying for the guitarist, Amado Degullacion.
Praying for the 3rd SYD Local Organizing Team

The last session for the evening was the prayer session. Participants were prayed for spiritual strength and wisdom as they prepare themselves for SYD-3. May the Lord shower upon all, His love and blessings that all participants would be well prepared for the upcoming event. 
The 3rd and final day, Sunday, 10th June, we joined the local parishioners in the mass for the 'Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ' presided by Fr. Anthony Mikat, the assistant parish priest of the Cathedral. He  called on the young people to remember their roots and as Christ's faithful to share Jesus with others and be Jesus to the world around us.
Uncle Majin expressed his gratefulness to Fr. Anthony for presiding the mass. He  said that  it was a privilege for the local parishioners to play host to the  young people, who had chosen St Peter, the venue of their camp.
After the Eucharistic celebration, we adjourned for a pot-luck luncheon fellowship prepared by the local parishioners.
Friendship doubles our JOY and divides our SORROW
After the three-day-two-night camp, we went to Dalit Beach some 30 minute drive from the chapel   for an outing with Uncle Majin's family who had been our 'foster family' for the duration of the get-together. It was a fun-filled, food blessed and warm fellowship encounter in a suburban setting.
Till we meet again. God bless!

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