Retreat for Catholic Students at Divine Word University
-Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb, CBC Social Communications
Young people stood boldly and made their promise to ‘Live Pure’ as they concluded the Spiritual Retreat for the Catholic Students on 23rdFebruary at the Divine Word University Chapel, Madang.
The chapel was filled to capacity as staff and lay faithful joined the students on Sunday 23rdFebruary. Bernadette Tefe and seven men boldly committed themselves to ‘Live Pure’ and celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage before they engage in sexual intimacy.
280 Catholic students spent a fruitful weekend, 21stto 23rdFebruary, in prayer, reflection and the celebration of their Catholic Faith as participants of the Spiritual Retreat. It had as its theme: ‘Giving Generously’ and was animated by Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb, CBC Social Communications Secretary. The retreat commenced on the 21stand concluded on the 23rdFebruary.
The opening session and the reflective film ‘War Room’ was held at the Sir Peter Barter auditorium. The beautiful setting set the tone for the retreat. “It gave the participants an insight into the power of prayer and the need for forgiveness,” said Stephanie Kungka and Valerie Maragau.
Saturday was spent at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Yomba. The sessions at the retreat focused on Generous Giving, Vocation: Our call to Holiness and the Celebration of the Sacraments. The inspiring PowerPoint presentations, motivations and inspirations have strengthened, motivated and encouraged the participants to reflect on their lives and change for the better. “The Retreat has helped us reflect on our Catholic faith journey and most of all on our personal life”, said Anthony, Fidelis and Walter. Group discussions with its reflective sharing, gave the students an opportunity to share their faith with their Catholic companions. In listening to the sharing of experiences, the students have been encouraged to live their faith. “I liked the fact that the students were involved in the activities and shared their testimonies”, said Ahisha.
A touching moment was when a recently married Cyril and Raunu Sarsorua shared their story of love and commitment. “I told Cyril that I will give myself to him only on after we have received the Sacrament of Marriage”, said Raunu. She said that Cyril agreed to the proposal and promised his respect and protection. The couple had spent the last few years studying in Poland and are now lecturers at the Divine Word University.
The Sacrament of Confession for which nine priests were present had a large number of retreatants make their confession. Amidst tears they were happy to hear the words, “Go in Peace, your sins are forgiven”.
Fr Philip Gibbs svd, Vice-president coordinated the retreat together with Fr Elias Aiyako svd, Chaplin of the Divine Word University. “The presence of over 280 catholic students for the Spiritual Retreat is a sign that our young people are in search for the ‘God’ in their lives. Youth groups and other events will be organized in the year ahead,” said Fr Philip. “It was wonderful to have young people participate actively in the program, share their reflection and the celebrate the sacraments of renewal,” said Fr Ambrose Pereira at the end of the Retreat.
A Leadership program was organized by Fr Philip Gibbs svd for the Student Representative Council members on Sunday 23rdFebruary. Sr Miriam Dlugosz ssps and Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb conducted sessions on Servant Leadership and Leadership qualities. Plans are underway to ensure that the students are motivated to be good Christian leaders in their communities and in society.