Article by Julita Kantod
Photos by SOCCOM Tawau
Tawau : The 3rd day, 8th June 2016 began with Morning Prayer in their respective groups. After which, the 2,000 odd participants participated in the Eucharistic celebration at 8.30 am, presided over by Bishop Julius of Sandakan, con celebrated by Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu and Fr. Charles Chiew of Keningau.
Bishop Julius in his homily shared that God will always be with His people as long as we believe, trust and place our hope in Him. The prelate called on the young people to surrender every thing to God, focus on Him, keep praying for His guidance, wisdom and grace. In that way, we will always remain close to God and be assured of hope in life in all circumstances.
Touching on the theme of SYD4, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,' the prelate called on the youth not to make decision based on anger or hatred but on mercy. They are reminded to serve with a merciful heart and never to judge. Serve with humility, patience and be generous in mercy either in the family or the community.
Bishop Julius said that repentance is the opportunity granted by God to each and all. It is an act of acknowledging that we need the mercy of God to be forgiven and be accepted again as His children. Let us all be opened to God's grace.
After the Eucharistic celebration participants were guided to an open exhibition called 'Gallery Walk,' themed 'Hero In Mission.' The youths were privileged to gain some faith information through the displays put up around the Church compound, Parish Hall and at the Catechetical Hall. Each gallery area have their own video shows and exhibitions.
There was also a display on the history of Sabah itself, focusing on the identity of certain ethnics in order for participants to value and treasure their culture and tradition. The history of the early churches in Sabah also helped the younger generation to appreciate the development of the Catholic Church in the local context.
Beside that, there were other exhibitions put up by the Good Shepherd Sister, Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Sandakan Diocesan Youth Apostolate, the Seminarians and the Social Communication Ministry of Holy Trinity.
Participants moved in groups and were asked to visit at least 3 areas of their choice. During the visit they were to remain calm and silent to reflect and pray that God will grant them the wisdom to comprehend the display. Participants shared on their experience based on the questions provided.
The afternoon session was the 90-minute talk on 'The true Hero.' The talk was aimed to put across the message on the meaning of the True Hero reflecting on Jesus Christ. Sr Terry fsic, Fr Rudolf and Fr Rooney facilitated the 15-19 years, 20-25 years and 26 years and above age groups respectively.
After the catechesis session, participants in groups shared on the message of the 'True Hero.'
The evening session was the Procession and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which began at 7.30 pm. Archbishop John Wong gave a reflection and shared that there is no sin that God can not forgive for He is the forgiving God, the merciful God, always waiting for us to turn to Him for pardon. Sins shall remain unforgiven because we chose to decline the forgiveness of God.
The prelate said that God is faithful. He never abandon us but in most cases we forget Him. We depend on our strength to face the rough roads of life and we lost focus on God. Once we are unable to carry the burden, we begin to question God, Where are You,? Why have You abandon me,? God is indeed in us but we have put Him aside.
It is through confession that our sins are washed and wiped away. Our hearts will be filled with His grace. We shall be purified and turn over to new life. He urged the participants not to stop seeking pardon from God, to welcome Him in our midst and be reconciled with Him.
After the Opening Prayer and reflection, confession and counseling were opened to all participants.