On Saturday, November 28, the SCJ community in Toronto sponsored its first inter-parish Advent Youth Retreat at St. Thomas More Church. The parish is staffed by SCJs. Helping to facilitate the retreat were Fraters Joseph Vu and James Nguyen. Thirty-five youth from the parish, as well as from UKI (the Indonesian Catholic community of Toronto) and Becoming Neighbours (a migrant outreach program), took part.
The theme of the retreat was “Prepare” from Isaiah 40:3.
“Joseph and I gave presentations on baptism and Eucharist,” said Fra. James. “We also talked about our personal vocations and what it means to be a Dehonian…
“As Fr. Peter McKenna always says, ‘Nothing is by chance, nothing by accident, all is God’s Providence.’ Working in youth ministry for many years, I think it is certainly God’s Providence indeed for youths to be willing to sacrifice their entire Saturday to come to a retreat. We had a wonderful time journeying with them as they prepare to welcome and reflect on the season of Advent.
“I spoke about how baptism is our Christian vocation to follow the footsteps of Mary in saying ‘YES!’ to God (Yield yourself, Examine yourself, Surrender yourself). What does it mean to live a Godbearing life? I reminded them that for those who hunger and seek to see God enter this world again and again, changing one life, and then another and another, they are filled with the good things of God, and bearing God themselves!
“I challenged them to do their part to bring kindness to the world and do one kind act for Advent. Imagine a world where each one of us does an act of kindness each day. That is 7 billion acts of kindness in a single day!
“The retreat ended with Adoration and reconciliation. Fr. Willyans Prado Rapozo, Fr. Benedito de Moraes Machado, Fr. Peter McKenna and Fr. Jim Casper were there to hear confessions. I truly felt that it was a fraternal collaboration.”
“How privileged we were to have James and Joseph with us!” said Fr. Peter.