A new beginning, a new hope, a feeling of rejuvenation, a storm of revival were some of the spiritual tsunami’s experienced deeply in the souls of the participants at the much awaited Christian Life Seminar (CLS) held on July 12-14, 2013 at SVD, Okhla in Delhi.
On the evening of July 12, the participants and the service team introduced themselves through a fun icebreaker game conducted by Sheetal and Kevin Coyne.
First session on Day 1 –
The morning of July 13th Saturday, began with a time of praise and worship, followed by the first session on ‘The Father’s Love’ by Gerard Anthony. He got the participants to think on the lines of what really brought them happiness and if it was temporary or eternal. Were they things that really satisfied them? He got them to understand that only God can truly give them the joy and happiness that is everlasting and fill them with peace. He inspired them to believe that God’s plan and his will is the best for them because he is a father who loves and cares for each of them dearly.
Is 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts
After a quiet time of reflection in front of the Blessed Sacrament, the participants had a time of sharing animated by a member of the service team to share their experiences of God’s love, including instances where they felt an absence of his love.
Second session on Day 1 –
The second session was given by Sheetal Coyne on ‘The Work of Salvation’. Sheetal explained how Jesus took the form of a man and took our sins and their consequences and crucified them to the cross and because He rose from the dead, sin and death were defeated. We are partakers in Jesus’ death and resurrection through our baptism and have been restored in Him to become sons and daughters of God. We can live a life of victory that God wants of us if only we truly believe in the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
This was again followed by a quiet time of reflection in front of the Blessed Sacrament which helped the participants reflect on the above teaching. The participants then had a time of sharing within their groups on areas of their lives where they found it difficult to allow Jesus to be the Lord.
Third session on day 1 –
The session on ‘Sin’ was addressed to the participants by Kevin Coyne. He stressed on the fact that sin is the only thing that separates us from God. He spoke about the two kinds of sin, ‘mortal’ and ‘venial’; mortal sin is one that destroys God’s grace and venial is weakens the grace we have received. He emphasized the need to turn away from sin and come back to God and that all sins can be forgiven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
God’s anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of the people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known. -Rom 1:18
The participants were then given questions to help them examine their conscience, more specifically to assist them in identifying sins that they were ignorant of and failed to acknowledge. The participants then had a time of reflection and grouped to discuss areas of sin that they discovered through the session.
His grace, Rev. Fr. Anil Joseph Couto, Arch Bishop of Delhi Arch Diocese, graced the occasion and blessed the participants and the children during this event, giving us a message on how important it is for families together, come more closer to Christ and help the Church in growing and sharing the good news with one another.
After a while, a time of ministering in front of the Blessed Sacrament was led by Gerard Anthony. He called upon the participants to reflect on instances involving their family which were an obstacle in their experience of God’s grace and His love. Volunteers from the community were at hand beside the Holy Eucharist to take the place of the participants’ earthly parents and give the necessary comfort during the process of healing.
The day ended with the holy rosary lead by Kelvin Castelino.
First session on Day 2 –
Sunday morning began with a talk on ‘Repentance and Faith’, by Preetam D’Souza which stated how repentance can bring about salvation from sin and death. Repentance and Faith are not two separate distinct ways to respond to God’s love, but are required to be cohesively acted upon to receive God’s grace and accept it fully. Preetam distinguished between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow with comments that godly sorrow brings life while worldly sorrow brings condemnation and death. He spoke of Faith, a belief in the good news of salvation. He summed up by saying that repentance and faith can bring new life.
2 Cor 7:10 For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation-and there is no regret in that! But sadness that is merely human causes death.
At the end of the session, the participants grouped to share the challenges they faced in repenting for their sins.
Following this, the participants met their group animator for a one-to-one session to discuss their struggles in life and to seek help in areas they desire to overcome. The participants spent the afternoon in front of the Blessed Sacrament and then received the sacrament of reconciliation. This was followed by a wonderful celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Fr. Arockia Dhas from Archdiocese of Delhi.
After mass, the participants came forward to share their experience at the CLS and to praise God for his abounding love, compassion, and mercy.
You can view the gallery of images here.