The Regional Youth Conference 2016 was held from the 4th to the 6th of November at The Kings’ School in Margao, Goa. Youth from Porvorim, Panjim, Siolim, Margao, Bangalore, Mangalore, and Gujarat attended it. ‘The Great Pursuit‘ was the theme for the conference – and we all set out to find our way towards the path to holiness.
There were around 100 to 150 youth, along with their formators attending the RYC. In these three days we all had plenty of fun and a lot to take back in the form of new gospel songs, sessions, competitions, prayers, and not to forget the praise and worship. The hosts for the conference were Bradley Carvalho and Amanda Monteiro who made an odd yet interesting entrance on the first day. Before getting deep into the conference spirit, we all had to register ourselves to participate in the competitions.
The conference opened with the teaching of a few gospel songs by the band “Grace Afterglow” followed by worship led by Noam Craig, a delegate from Mangalore. All the attendees then participated in an event called the ‘Praise Parade‘. It was the first event of the day which helped us get to know each other and see the different ways in which each area portrayed a celebration in heaven. The first session, ‘Call To Holiness‘ was given by Reuben Carvalho, where he spoke about how our call to holiness extends beyond just fulfilling a few obligations, and holiness is more than just going for mass or praying. Group discussions were held after most sessions to help gain a better understanding of that session in order for us to share our lives and learn from the lives of others.
We quickly had lunch and headed back to the hall for a time of praise led by Jared D’Lima from Panjim, followed by the Holy mass which was celebrated by Fr. John Mascarenhas, where we entrusted ourselves to God for the extent of the conference. After mass, we had a few competitions and various activities. The delegates participated in various competitions like Scavenger hunt, extempore, drama, Nail Art, Arm wrestling, among others with a lot of enthusiasm. Through these activities, the delegates had a lot of fun and time to bond with each other.
We had the following session by Neshwin Almeida, ‘Living our Life contrary to our calling‘. He taught us about the different Fruits of Sinful Nature and how we should learn to avoid them. There were little skits acted out on the fruits of sinful nature by various singles which were fun and entertaining. Later that night, we had the Talent Broadway in which all delegations actively participated and showcased their talents. The day soon ended and the delegates went to sleep in anticipation, and excited for what was in store for the next day.
We began the second day with the Holy Eucharist, which was beautifully celebrated by Fr. Valentine, after which we went for breakfast. When we returned to the hall, we had Praise and Worship by Avinash Serrao, the second Mangalore delegate to lead praise and worship. We were then divided into three groups for workshops for ‘The Holes in Holiness‘. The First workshop was conducted by Levin and Blossom, which was done separately for boys and girls which was for ‘Lust of the Flesh‘, which refers to all disorderly desires and appetites experienced by man. The second workshop by Leanne which was on ‘Lust of the Eyes‘ which refers to the pursuit of material things as a means of finding satisfaction in life, and the third by Joshua Cordeiro was on the ‘Pride of Life‘. It referred to a way of life that acknowledged God as the reason for me being who I am. We were also divided into groups for groups for a group discussion to open up and talk about the sessions that had gone by.
Later, all the delegates were lead for confession, repenting for their sin, and asked God for complete forgiveness. That evening, we had another a talk given by Ehrlson de Sousa on ‘Leaning on Grace‘. He also hosted a talk show with three participants; Avinash, Erica and Dalreen as guests. We all saw God’s hand at work in their lives.
Later that night, along with dinner, we all gathered for a fete, where we had a lot of games, and playing them was so much fun. The entries for the preconference video making competition, ‘Undignified on tape’ were played for everyone to watch. The delegates also had to twin with another person a part of the theme of the night, which made it quite difficult to find each other.
We began the last day of the conference with praise and worship led by Wayne Barretto from Porvorim following which the Holy Eucharist was once again celebrated in a vibrant manner by Fr. Valentine. We were split into groups for three more workshops which took us through our ‘Covenant‘ and helped us learn how holiness can be an everyday affair. The first workshop by Aaron Gomes was on our Call to Holiness, the second was on our Call to Family and Community by Silverio Souza and the third on Call to being a Witness by Erushka de Sousa. As you can imagine, we were quite exhausted after the workshops since they touched different aspects of our lives. Finally it was time for lunch. After lunch, the band led us through Adoration. We each were personally prayed over by our formators and the Singles from the community. An award ceremony was held for the distribution of prizes for the preconference competitions and the competitions held at the venue. We then ended the conference with an amazing praise fest.
We all parted with joy in our hearts, after making a lot of friends, with the decision to walk on the narrow path of holiness.