SANDAKAN : In conjunction with the Advent season, the Sandakan Parish Youth Apostolate (PYA) in collaboration with the Diocesan Youth Office organized the very first reaching out to the marginalized people, and also a self-preparation before Christmas program called "Four Things To Do Before Christmas." The objective of which is to know and experience the real essence of Christmas by sharing to others and to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ (Christmas).
'Four Things To Do Before Christmas' is divided into four parts where the youths will visit four different places in four different days before Christmas :
- 6th December - Visitation to Agape Care Centre for Children with Special needs (DONE!)
- 16th December - St. Peter, Sungai Manila ~ A fellowship with the blind people
- 19th December - A clean-up day at Mdm. Juplin John's resident
- 23rd December - Reaching out to street children in Sandakan Town
On Monday, December 3rd, Brother Bell from the Diocesan Pastoral Centre shared about the meaning of Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word ~ advenio, "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, firstly, to our celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; second, the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, His Second Coming at the end of time. Our preparations, therefore, should have all three comings in mind. We need to prepare our souls to receive Christ worthily.
Anna Teresa, the Youth Director facilitated the session on "Plan Out Plan." We were divided into four groups. Each group was asked to plan out the ingredients of each visits. It took us some 45 minutes to plan out the wonderful and magical program for each visit. The day did not end there; after planning, we offered up our planning to God hoping that whatever we had planned out is from Him and not from our human mind.
"Let us be like Christ. Be a life giver to others. Let’s experience this moment as we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. Christmas will be different because we made a difference. Let’s make our Christmas a life giving to others."