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Monday, October 15, 2012

Twelfth DYA Gathering


KUNAK : The Diocesan Youth Apostolate (DYA) of Sandakan held a day of recollection and a day of meeting at St. Philip's Mini Retreat Center, Kunak last October 5 to October 7. The twelfth meeting, since its inception in 2010 was attended by 12 members coming from across the four parishes.

The recollection started with Holy Mass which was presided over by the Spiritual Advisor of the DYA, Rev. Fr David Garaman. He has been journeying with the team since 2010. In his homily he told us the story about the turtle blaming others for things not done instead of doing the things that he should do. It is the same with the youth leaders, instead of blaming others, why not we ourselves do something good for our ministry. Too often we notice the needs of our ministry, hoping that someone will appear to meet those needs. If such is the case, we deprive ourselves the opportunity to serve. It was indeed a provocation that really helped us to reflect on our journey in the ministry. He called on the members to revisit, to review, refresh and renew our commitment  on our roles in this ministry.

Sr Lilian Unsoh FSIC, the Assistant Spiritual Advisor to DYA facilitated the first session on 6th October 2012, entitled "Transition" or also known as the "New Normal". We were asked to list down the transitions that we had in our life. God's will is always changing us. He is always transforming us and molding us to be something different than we are.

Isaiah 64 : 8 'We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.' It was a good moment to reflect on our life before starting our journey in the recollection. As clay we are creatively shaped by the Lord, the potter, refined, purified and hardened till we are worthy of use.

The next session, given by Fr David Garaman, touched on the "Year of Faith". Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei ~ The 'door to our faith' (Acts 14 : 27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God  and offering entry into His Church. There are six stages in the year of faith ;
1) Rediscover
2) Renew
3) Re-intensify
4) Recall
5) Retrace
6) Re-appropriate
He explained explicitly to us each of the stages. He also shared with us that the 'Year of Faith' marks the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, calling each faithful to profess the faith in fullness.
Right after the session by Fr David Garaman, Sr Lilian FSIC invited us to experience another method of praying ~ "Praying with Scriptures". We were asked to pick one passage, read it prayerfully and listen carefully and digest it slowly. We were asked not be anxious but to be content like a child who climbs into a caring person's lap and listen to a story. We were also encouraged to engage in a conversation with God.

After having a private time with God, we were again invited to be in solitude; prayer in the midst of nature. We were asked to give ourselves a moment to become still and become aware of the presence of God in our midst. We were also asked to read a given text of the scripture, meditate on in while walking in the midst of the the beautiful nature around us.


It was a wonderful personal experience with God. We enjoyed our time with Him and we were asked to express our feelings and the experiences we have had with him during the whole day. We were asked to express in creative ways. Some drew and some sang. It was a very special moment as everyone shared about their talents with each other. It was a very fruitful and peace filled day for all of us. In the evening, we had our rosary prayer and  fellowship. It was also a time to celebrate our friendship, enhance our bonding all for one reason - because of Him.
The next day, 7th October 2012 was the Thanksgiving Mass, presided over by Fr David. The day's reading was about an inseparable bond - love. Love is shown by our words and actions and by our caring presence. He also challenged the youth leaders to attract more youths to know Jesus, to love Him and  to serve Him. He reminded us to put more love into our action. "Love what you do, do what you love". 

We also took the opportunity to thank Lola Prisa, the owner of St Philip's Mini Retreat Center and the Women's Apostolate who had prepared our food for the last three days. Right after mass, we had our meeting proper which ended at around 4.30 pm.

The next recollection will be held in Sandakan sometime in April 2013. Till we meet again my dear friends. Take care and serve well with compassion and love. We are the chosen generation...let us serve the Lord. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! ~ Joshua 24 : 15

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