The vivacious youth of Delhi witnessed a wonderful time of praise and worship, adoration, lively sessions, moving testimonies and camaraderie at the three-day retreat which could be revered as a sheer celebration of God’s unfathomable love and mercy.
The CFCI singles team led by Joshua Cordeiro, was welcomed with loud cheer and excitement, by more than 250 students and teachers gathered at the St Francis De Sales School (SFS), New Delhi. The retreat was held from October 11 to October 13, 2013.
After a formal inaugural ceremony, the CFCI Singles took charge of the SFS annual retreat. The students, who were waiting to get off the ground and shake a leg, were rapt by the praise and worship led by Levin Gomes and Basil Rodrigues.
The first session given by Deidre Fernandes was on ‘The Father Heart of God, His love and plan for us.’ She made the youth realize that God’s love is always unconditional, and His plans are always bigger and better, beyond anyone’s comprehension. This was followed by a sharing by Maria Laveena who spoke about the plan of God in her life.
The session was followed by mass, celebrated by the Fransalian priests. After lunch, the second session by Lisa Cordeiro was on an interesting topic, ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ She made the youth understand who Jesus Christ really was, and how the whole world had been identifying Him. She stressed on how we should never doubt Jesus but believe that He will forever be, our God, our Lord, and our Saviour.
After the tea-break, Joshua conducted some riveting games, like ‘Race to heaven’ in the school premises. The games helped them to brighten up and get back to hear the final session by Levin Gomes, the CFCI National Singles Coordinator. He spoke about, ‘Man’s fall (Sin)’ and explained how each one rejected God in their lives, by falling to sin. The youth were made to understand that at times they choose to live a life according to their own plans and decisions, isolated from God, and that was not what God wants.
The session was followed by adoration. While the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar, Lisa Cordeiro took them through the day’s activities. She asked them to be sorry for their sins and to receive Jesus in their hearts.
The most remarkable moment of the day, was the ‘Heart activity’ conducted by the CFCI singles . A huge Jesus’ heart was made and the youth were asked to write down their sins in a piece of paper that they thought had hurt Jesus. They were later asked to fold it and pin it on Jesus’ heart. The Singles then turned it and revealed the pierced heart of Jesus, explaining how all their sins had wounded Jesus’ heart. The auditorium had a stunned silence. The youth were then divided into teams and were sent for group discussions. After dinner, the auditorium was turned into silver screen, as the singles screened the movie, ‘Facing the giants’.
The second day of the retreat began with praise and worship and rosary. The first session for the day was the open forum, conducted by the singles. The team answered all the questions that the youth had concerning about their relationship with God.
It was followed by a session on ‘Repentance and forgiveness’, by Basil Rodrigues. He asked the youth to break the barrier of sin and receive Jesus in their hearts. His session spoke about how true repentance and forgiveness can bring healing in everyone’s life, and bring about God’s grace. Deidre Fernandes and Lisa Cordeiro shared their experiences in repentance and forgiveness. The session was followed by mass, celebrated by the Fransalian priests. After a quick lunch, the adoration began. As the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar, Deidre Fernandes took the youth carefully into inner-healing. Many incidents that hurt them from their infancy to adolescence were read out, and she asked them to forgive the people who hurt them.
As it concluded, Maria Laveena took the youth to a state of repentance and forgiveness. She read aloud the different forms of sins, and requested them to truly repent, as God was waiting to purify them from all their unrighteousness. Maria also took them through an examination of conscience, where the youth realized the areas in their life that were not aligned to God. The adoration was followed by confession.
After dinner, the youth were given a task to choose any of the session that was given, and then enact a skit on the same topic. The teams led by Joshua Cordeiro and Lisa Cordeiro were declared as the winners.
On the final day, the youth were introduced to the session on the ‘Power of the Holy Spirit’, by Kelvin Castelino. He explained that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was essential, to help each one to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. During the session, Jane DeSousa shared her experience of the Holy Spirit in her life.
The final session of the retreat was given by Joshua Cordeiro. He conducted an activity where he selected two teams with six people each. They were asked to assume that they were stuck in front of a puddle and were given two lifeguards, in the form of two squared sheets to reach the water’s edge.
With great complexity when the students completed the activity, Joshua introduced the topic of the session, ‘The tools for Christian growth’. On every lifeguard (paper sheets), the important tools namely Prayer and study of Scriptures, Fellowship, Service, and Sacraments were inscribed. Thus, Joshua asked everyone to remain faithful and grow with these Christian tools.
Later, the youth were given partners and asked to pray over each other for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, led by Levin and Basil. The retreat ended on a high note, with an exhilarating praise fest. Hymns like ‘Hop on the bus’ and ‘Undignified’ kept resonating in the auditorium until the last child left the place.