St. Joseph’s Church, Sentul Youth Rally has returned yet again in 2023! The Youths of our church have been working with sheer will, as we embark our feast day journey through this rally 20 days later from Easter. Our Feast Day Novena Journey has begun on the 22nd of April 2023 which consists of a 9-day Novena Journey. From a small start last year, we have grown tremendously and had various events and roles to take upon, especially from our fruitful Passion Play not long ago in April.
This year has been a challenge to us due to continuous challenges but we never felt that it has been a year with leap of faith. Our church Youth representatives, had handed an immense task to our fellow Youths, Alvina and Azra to establish a working group to ensure the start-up and progress of the event. From last year’s goal, we carry it forward as we hosted the rally in conjunction with our Feast Day this year and to bring back the spirit of the youths of our parish and encourage them to come serve in the Church with our Feast Day being the stepping stone and a welcoming.
To recall this feeling last year, the group of youths with an embodiment of 13 members with a touch of experience in hosting our own event just like the year before. We went through tough challenges, from organising the event and getting the target needed to make it successful. With our Patron Saint being, St. Joseph The Worker, we were inspired and showed our dedication by having multiple online meetings and discussions. As the outcome of our discussions, we decided on a theme which is Salt of the Earth and Light of the World. Being touched and inspired by the Lenten campaign this year in the Catholic church, we decide to follow the theme given and planned our sessions and games based of it. It was a peculiar theme to go with, but we intentionally chose this theme in order to provide our youths a basic understanding on how to be a salt and light to this world.
We were grateful to have Brother Philip Asirwalam, currently a seminarian in his 7th year, as he generously had two sessions with our fellow Youths on the first day of the rally, despite having an occupied schedule. Brother Philip sessions were related directly to our theme with a twist, as the first session Called to be Salt of the Earth with an integration on what is Lay Vocation and Living as the Light of the World correlating to Religious Vocation. The talks were delivered in an engaging manner as the Youths of our church experienced an eye-opener. The sessions ended with an open floor question and answer session, where Brother Philip shared his wisdom, experiences, challenges and a handful of relatable topics. It was a blessing to have him during our special weekend as we learned to take a new step ahead.
With the help of our PPC leader, Gabriel Moses and Father Frederick, the next two sessions were conducted by Brother Benedict Savarimuthu, a member of our parish, who was called upon in the eleventh hour to conduct the last two sessions of the first day of the rally. He was given a session Leaven of The God’s Kingdom based of Matthew 13:33 which says “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with forty litres of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.” The session was a wake-up call to us that Jesus is showing that the kingdom will begin in the hearts of His followers and only eventually grow to become the glorious kingdom the people were hoping for. He continued the second session called “Guided Adoration”, as it is a request from us Youths to teach us the importance, the way of participating and celebrating with the presence of the Lord.
With the help of our advisors and our sheer hard work, we managed to get 72 participants to join for this two-day event. Youths from ages of 14 to 32 have joined us and gave us an opportunity to learn what it’s like to be a youth from a young age to the age we will grow to. The turnout was outstanding and the organizers were in disbelief. We were blessed and thankful to those who took part and took their graceful time in spreading the word on this rally and joining us. We are grateful to our Parish Priest, Father Frederick, our Resident Priest, Monsignor James and Father Madalai for being our advisors, providing us the insights that was needed and fulfilling our needs to ensure that this event will be bring change.
From this rally, we have learned and understood the needs of our youths, we have received constructive criticisms and feedbacks to make the upcoming events much better than before. With this spirit and foundation formed, we pledged to grow even bigger and join the likes of the other churches with a strong and big foundation. Their successful stories have inspired us and one day we shall inspire others to be like us. The Youth Rally ends, but our journey in faith has just begun. Our faith could start as small as a mustard seed, it will someday grow into a big tree.
Andronicus Valentino Gonsalverz and Teren Anthonysamy
Youth of St. Joseph’s Church
Photos by Edwin Francis Xavier