“Yes, I am the vine you are the branches, he who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit for without Me you can do nothing.”
The greatest experience of 2019— The Regional Youth Conference 2019 was held from the 8th to 10th November 2019 at Don Bosco, Sulcorna, Goa. Delegates from all over Goa along with Pune, Mangalore and Bangalore attended the conference. The theme of the conference was based on John 15:5—Branch Out.
The Music Ministry was led by the band ‘Grace Afterglow‘ who enhanced the entire conference, giving the conference a spiritually fun outlook. Our hosts Karen Pinto and Ingrid Noronha filled the conference with a spirit of joy and excitement.
The first day started off with a blissful praise and worship session followed by the first talk by Joshua Cordeiro on ‘Blessed to be a Branch‘. It highlighted our call to abide as Catholics. It spoke on being beloved, settling down and being at home with Christ. It also spoke on the reality of life and taught us how to abide in Christ through prayer time, scripture reading and the holy sacraments and how to live out our calling. Every session was followed by a group discussion. The Divine Mercy was recited after lunch followed by a power-filled worship session.
The next session ‘Cut off and Prune‘ was given by Chris Crasta. It basically highlighted how God prunes us and cuts off the unholy branches. It spoke about how we need to come before Him, acknowledge our failures, ask for His grace and say yes to Him. The session was followed by Holy Mass. The group discussion followed mass and thereafter we had dinner and post-dinner was an entertaining night with the competition ‘Pundignified‘.
The second day began with infilling praise and worship. The third session ‘Grace to Abide’ was given by Lavisha Castelino. It highlighted the importance of remaining connected to the vine and how to remain connected to it. She explained what is grace and the tools of grace— God’s word, prayer and sacraments. The participants were then divided into two groups— one group prepared themselves for the sacrament of confession and received it and simultaneously, the other group went to the chapel and they did an activity given by Claudia Fernandes, where the participants made Jesus beads. And thereafter the two groups switched. After everyone was done with confession we had our group discussion followed by lunch. Post lunch the participants attended competitions which were fun and exciting.
Soon followed the fourth session by Prajwal Pinto ‘Praying the Eucharist’. A beautiful session which focused on the mass and what an amazing gift it is. It taught the participants what happens during mass and the beauty of it. It highlighted the importance of mass—a source of grace, faith and the Eucharist as a summit. It explained who offers the sacrifice and how to abide the way Jesus wants us to. The session was followed by the Holy Mass. The group discussions of the previous session ensued the same. That evening the participants had a costume party, the theme— Favorite Bible Character. The party had different game stalls music and entertainment and concluded with dinner
The third day started off with the Holy Mass followed by breakfast. After breakfast, there was a deep and enriching praise and worship and the final session ‘Bearing Fruit‘ by Maria Laveena. The whole focus of the talk was on the fruits of the Holy Spirit. And how we can bear fruit in our lives and in our own ministries.
In the afternoon there was a pray over session for all the participants. Post which we had the praise fest. The conference ended with each of the participants’ reassurance to abide in Christ, to remain in Him and to branch out and bear good fruit.