These past two weekends, two of our parish youths – Juliet Gregory and Gloria Michael Raj – contributed articles for our weekly bulletin, as well as for our parish website. They penned down their personal reflections about their experience at the Maranatha Retreat Centre at Janda Baik, Pahang. The articles were well-written and if you have missed reading these, you can find the articles in our parish website at: http://www.stjosephsentul.org
If you’ve noticed, these past three weekends, we have published articles pertaining to personal retreat experiences, reflections and insights. Normally, I don’t publish or upload specific articles onto our weekend bulletin and website, but instead, I allow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to guide me. Looking back at the three subsequent weekend messages on personal directed retreats, I think we need to take time off from our daily routine and create space for ourselves to rest and relax from everyday distractions. In today’s society, most of us are concerned about work, family life, financial matters, etc. that we need to step out of our busy schedules and enter into a slower pace of life. Therefore, I strongly encourage everyone to attend a meditation or personal retreat, to help ourselves return home refreshed, revived and renewed. Retreats or any other form of spiritual formation, is a perfect way to spend quality time with ourselves, and at the same time, it is an opportunity to recharge, relax and reflect.
From 31 August to 2 September 2018, our Parish will be holding a spiritual retreat in English. Last year, we invited the priests from the Divine Retreat Centre in Potta, India, to our Parish retreat, and the response from our parishioners was very encouraging indeed . This year, we will be inviting retreat master, Rev Fr Roni George (Vincentian Congregation, who also runs the Divine-Potta Ministries), from the Divine Retreat Centre in Sydney, Australia. I would like to make a request to our parishioners to block these dates in your diaries and make an attempt to attend our annual spiritual retreat. It falls during the long Merdeka Day holiday weekend. Instead of getting away for a long weekend holiday, I recommend that you make yourselves available instead for this annual Parish retreat, to spend time with God. The organising team, led by Alan Jong, will announce more details about this retreat in the weeks to come.
From Tuesday to Friday (19 – 22 June) I met with our Form Five students individually, at my office. They are preparing to receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in August 2018, and many of them were quite nervous because they thought I would be questioning them about the understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, I was mainly chatting with them about the importance of the Church, and secular education which will determine their future.
Their catechism classes are coming to an end in a couple of weeks and in four months, they will be sitting for a very crucial examination. I encouraged them to start preparing for their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) which will be held in November 2018. This SPM exam marks the end of their secondary school education, and a turning point in their lives. Their next life chapter will either be in college or university, and they may be away from their homes. From next year onwards they will be exposed to various external influences. I warned them not to get swayed by negative situations and influences, but instead to always place God in the centre of their lives and trust in His plan for them. God’s plan is always better than ours, and be assured that He will always lead us down the path of righteousness and happiness.
Fr. George Packiasamy