CLS @ Shimoga

He said to them

“Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to the whole human race”

Mark 16:15

A Christian Life Seminar (CLS) in Kannada was held on 23rd September 2018 at the Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society (SMSSS) in the diocese of Shimoga, Karnataka. It was a one day program where about 20 couples along with their children from 3 different parishes gathered to attend the program.

The day began with a time of praise and worship followed by a talk on ‘God’s love and Jesus’. Through this session, the participants were brought to an understanding of how only the unconditional love of God can satisfy every longing of the human heart. The group discussion that followed was a fruitful one with participants sharing personal accounts of God’s love in their life.

The program began with members of the music ministry teaching hymns to the participants. The team then led the people into a time of praise and worship. The first talk was ‘God’s love and Jesus’, where it was explained in detail how nothing in this world can satisfy us except God and his unconditional love. At the end of the talk, there was a testimony followed by a tea break. Meanwhile, the participants were split into small groups headed by one of our team members and they had a fruitful group sharing based on their personal experiences of God’s love for 10 minutes.

The second talk was on given in two parts. Part one was on “Sin”. The speaker explained the ten commandments and how we sin by breaking these commandments. The speaker shared many personal life instances during the talk. The second part of the talk was on “Faith and Repentance”. The speaker spoke about how faith and repentance go hand in hand and how both are needed to walk towards eternal life. The participants were then given a brief input on the sacrament of confession. Many misconceptions and fears about confession were addressed in the session. They were guided and encouraged to prepare for a good confession. They were given the examination of conscience to sincerely examine their lives and help them with the confession. They spent time before the Blessed Sacrament for reflection and then took turns to go for confession. The second talk for the day was on ‘Sin’ wherein the speaker explained how by breaking each of the 10 commandments we are led to sin. The aspect of ‘Faith and Repentance‘ was also highlighted and the speaker narrated how both work together and help us in our walk towards eternal life. Personal sharing by the speaker made the session meaningful and helped the participants relate better to the content being delivered.

The participants were then led to the sacrament of reconciliation after an examination of conscience and a time of reflection before the Blessed Sacrament. Misconceptions and fears about confessions were laid to rest prior to this and the participants were encouraged to make a sincere and good confession.

After the one-hour lunch break, everyone gathered in the main hall for the afternoon session which began with praise and worship. The next talk was on ‘marriage’. The speakers, a couple in the community spoke on roles of man and woman in a marriage as set out in the scripture and also on the different areas and challenges that married couples go through. The speaker also spoke about the importance of spending quality time with their spouse. The participants were then given some time to speak on these issues with their spouses. The 2nd half of the day, post lunch commenced with praise and worship followed by a session on ‘Marriage’ which stressed on the roles of a man and woman in marriage as laid down by scripture. The speaker also addressed various struggles married couples face in today’s modern society where the family as a unit is under constant attack. The importance of spending quality time together as a couple was also stressed upon and couples were given one-on-one time to speak about issues they are facing.

Followed by the tea break, we had our next session on the “Holy Spirit”. The speaker spoke on how the holy spirit helps us in our relationship with God. The Bishop of Shimoga – his grace Francis Serrao, S. J. was welcomed and gave a heart moving message for the couples which ended with the Eucharistic celebration by Fr. Stephen. After the mass, couples gathered in the hall and shared their experience of the program. They were patient enough till the end of the program through some of them had travelled from a very long distance. A session on ‘The Holy Spirit’ was a very enlightening one which focused on the role of the spirit in leading us to a deeper relationship with God. The Bishop of Shimoga, his grace Francis Serrao gave a moving message for the couples gathered. The program concluded with the Eucharistic celebration after which the couples gathered for a time of sharing about their experience at the CLS.

While the couples were attending the CLS, a parallel program was being conducted for their children with lively gospel songs being taught as well as talks on ‘God’s love’ and ‘Who is Jesus’?

A parallel program for children was conducted simultaneously during the day. The children were taught many praise songs and had sessions on God’s love and who is Jesus.

We all experienced the spirit of God moves mightily in this place. In the end, we had a group photograph of the whole team along with the participants and children. The program ended with Thanksgiving to God by the team members. The Lord worked mightily all through this program and the team along with the participants experienced the power of the Almighty.

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