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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Catholic Students' Campus Gathering 2013

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LAHAD DATU : The first Catholic Students' Campus Gathering (CSCG) was held on 12th July to 14th July 2013 at St. Dominic's Chruch, Lahad Datu. Eleven participants from the various colleges from around the Diocese of Sandakan participated the three-day and two-night program conducted by the Campus Ministry of the Diocesan Youth Apostolate.
There are some 250 Catholic students in six higher institutions of learning in our diocese. Many of whom are from other arch / dioceses. The objectives of the program is to gather and build friendship between the students -  inviting them to share, learn, and strengthen their faith journey as a Catholic student.
Upon arrival on the first day, 12th July 2013 participants were feted to dinner prepared by the Parish Catholic Women's Apostolate of Lahad Datu. A 'praise and worship' session was conducted right after dinner, followed with personal reflection.
On the second day 13th July 2013, we started the day with a mass celebrated by Fr. Simon Kontou. In his homily he reminded us, that as Christian, we should not be afraid whenever or wherever someone questions our faith. All we need to do, is to know our faith. Students who are living in campus will hear alot from others and that is why it is important for them to know our Catholic faith ~ thoroughly and in depth.
Before proceeding to the next session, they were invited to play a game. They were divided into two groups and were asked to cover their eyes and draw the human body parts by listening to their group mates instructions. From here, they learned that it is important to listen and to be loyal in whatever ways. After the game, they were brought to the 'expectation check' slot. They were asked to "cook" a delicious chicken soup where they had to put their chicken (expectation) into the pot, followed by flavoring (ways to accomplish their expectation). It was a very fruitful session because they got to listen to each other and from there, they were able to help one another to achieve their expectation. The second session was, an introduction to the Campus Ministry at the parish level, shared by Esther Albert followed by the introduction of the Campus Ministry at the Diocesan Level and the Malaysian Catholic Youth Ministers Committee (MCYMC), shared by Anna Teresa. In the afternoon, they were given time to share about the challenges they face in their institutions. It was informative and an eye opener for all of us who listened.
In the late afternoon it was time for an outdoor activity called "Blind Snake". Group members were asked to cover their eyes except for the group leader who was standing behind the group. They were not allowed to talk except to wait for hand language. Example, tap three times mean walk forward and tap once to stop. From there, they learned to trust each other. There are times we might misunderstood or doubt but it is important to trust each other with confidence.
The last session in the evening was talking about their rights as a student. It is important to know our rights as we are now living in a very challenging world. After the session, everyone went to the chapel for the taize prayer. 
On the last day, Sunday 14th July 2013 all participants attended mass and had breakfast fellowship at the canteen together with fellow members of the Parish Youth Apostolate. Before ending the program, all of us sat together and shared about how the program has affected us. The program ended at around 12.00 noon.

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