On 19th May 2017, 30 confirmation students accompanied by 3 of our class teachers, namely teacher Priscilla Gregory, teacher Michell Wong (coordinator) and teacher John Bosco attended a 3 day /2 night retreat camp held at St. Theresa’s Church, Nilai. The theme of this camp was “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the end of the Earth”, (Acts 1:8). The students gathered at St. Joseph’s Church around 1.45 pm. Our Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy led us in prayers and blessed us before we boarded a school bus, heading towards St. Theresa’s Church. We arrived there at 3.40 pm.
The camp started off with an” ice breaking” session at 4.00 pm, where the facilitators and the students got to know each other. Then, the Bible Enthronement session was assisted by 7 confirmation students. This is to highlight the centrality of the Word of God. Before every session, the students and facilitators sang songs to praise and worship Jesus for being with the students and giving the facilitators power to speak the words of God.
On the first day there were two sessions, “Expectations VS Reality” and “God the Loving and Merciful Father”. The bible verses that summarised both sessions were Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. From this verse we learnt how we choose to live our lives with God as our guide and head. Next John 3:16; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. This session gave us a deeper understanding and helped us experience the Love of our God. After the two sessions, the students were given insights on the prayer positions and their meaning as well as a personal reflection session. That concluded the first day at the camp.
On the second day, the students woke up and got ready at 7.00 am. The Divine Office prayer started at 8.00 am. After breakfast, the students went through two sessions which were “Man is Separated From God Through Sin” and “Jesus Died For Our Sins/New Life”. The 3rd session “Man is Separated From God Through Sin” taught us the summary of the effects of sins which were Division, Dependence and Damage. However through God’s mercy, he changed the effects to Reconciliation, Freedom and New Life respectively. Then, “Jesus Died For Our Sins/New Life” taught the students to seek Salvation by Admitting, Believing and Confessing. After lunch, we had the 5th session “The Forgotten Enemy”. From this session we learned what the Catholic Church teaches us about the biggest problems faced by the world today such as pre-marital sex, adultery, abortion and homosexuality. This session ended at 4.00 pm to allow the students to prepare for the Mass at 6.00 pm.
We attended sunset Mass at St. Theresa’s Church. Indeed we were so blessed to witness the Sacrament of Confirmation which was celebrated that evening. It was truly a great opportunity for us future confirmands to witness the Sacrament of Confirmation. The mass was celebrated by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese, Most Rev. Julian Leow. We were so excited to see him and some of us managed to shake hands and took selfies with him. After the mass, the students were served dinner.
The last session of that day was “Inner Healing/The Need For Personal Healing.” It was an important session during this camp. It was a time where all the students were to “forgive and remember” the events of the past. Many were brought to tears because of their brokenness, sin and pain, but with the healing touch of Jesus, the students were able to overcome their past, forgive and they receive the grace to experience the New life in Christ Jesus. Almost every single one of us felt the presence and love of Jesus in our hearts and we spent some time adoring and thanking Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the healing that took place in us. The night ended with supper, laughter peace and love shared among us students and teachers.
The last day of the camp began at 7.00 am. The Divine Mercy Chaplet began at 8.00 a.m. The next session started after breakfast at 9.30 am. The session was about “Parent-Child Relationship”. It mainly speaks about the importance of honouring our parents. At the end of this session, the students were to read the letter of affirmation written by their parents beforehand and reply to their parents. The next session started after a short break. The session summarised what the students had learned from the camp. After the session, the students gave praise and thanks to Jesus. Then, they thanked the facilitators and took a group photo. The last moments of the camp ended with lunch and packing up at 1.00 pm.
Meanwhile at St. Joseph’s Church, starting at 1.30 pm, the parents of the confirmation student attended a talk on “How to improve the relationship between parents and child and how every family member plays their personal role to improve the relationship between family members”. The students packed up and left St. Theresa’s Church at 2.00 pm. Everyone left the camp with smiles and no regrets. We felt so much of peace and happiness. The students arrived at St. Joseph church at 3.30 p.m. to join their parent(s) in the session. We students were anxious to meet our parents because we too have written a letter to them. It was a touching moment between parent(s) and child. Some were moved to tears. Many felt grateful for the opportunity to make amends for the betterment of the parent(s), child and family.
Once again, the facilitators were thanked at the end of the parents’ session. Then, the parents who attended the session were given the opportunity to assign roles to animate the Confirmation Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, 24th June 2017. The session ended at 4.30 pm and everyone went home.
The sessions were facilitated by members of the the FIT (Faith, Integrity,Trust) Ministry comprising of Christopher, John Paul, Anthony & Ann Felix, Jahaziel D’cruz, Roystan, Michele & Charlotte Peter.
By Karl Choo Jia Long