Participants of the Building Youth Communities retreat spent a weekend at the Church of St Francis Xavier from April 4 to 6.Participants of the Building Youth Communities retreat spent a weekend at the Church of St Francis Xavier from April 4 to 6.
The third Building Youth Communities retreat, jointly organised by the Office for Young People (OYP) and the Church of St Francis
Xavier (SFX), was held in the parish from April 4 to 6.

Twenty-nine participants aged 17 to 28 took part in a weekend of teachings, Bible sharing and community meetings, and received prayer ministry for empowerment to build communities with the Lord back in their parishes.

Participants were broken up into smaller groups to join the meetings of one of the six SFX youth communities: In One Spirit, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Cornerstone, Youth Vineyard, Leaven of God and Mustard Seed Community. Within each community, participants engaged in sharings based on the Gospel and how it related to their lives.

The second day of the retreat addressed the fundamentals of Christian communities: namely encounters with Jesus, community living, teaching, liturgy, service and witness.

The importance of this real encounter with Jesus was pertinently expressed through a question posed to participants, “Community and discipleship are big buzzwords at the moment but how many of us actually know what they mean?”

The teachings were further enriched by real life examples of the realities of community living, through testimonies on how community has helped people grow in their family life and cope with loss.

On the last day of the retreat, participants joined the various SFX youth communities in their sessions, which were planned and executed by their respective members.

Church of the Holy Spirit parishioner Diana Ong, 19, said, “It gave me direction as to how a community can be set up and I feel a sense of hope that this can happen in my own parish after seeing it amongst the communities here this weekend.”

Mr Aloysius Chua, 26, from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary said, “It was very edifying to see so many people from different parishes who have the same heart for God, desiring to build communities.”

Echoing his sentiment was Gregory David 20, a facilitator from SFX’s Leaven of God community who said, “It’s enriching to see the Lord working in the diocese through the youth and forming men and women after His own heart.”

By Anita Ali

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