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Salesians' Spiritual Retreat at Siloam- A Faith Journey

By Daniel Dabitlang Cajee SDB
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Shillong, Aug. 11. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, a group of 40 Salesians belonging to Silchar and Guwahati Provinces, entered into a 5 full day Spiritual retreat held in Siloam, situated about 20 Kms north of Shillong. It is a place where one can be united with Nature and the Divine. The retreat was held from 6th August to 11th August 2012,  and was centered on the theme ''IN THE HEART OF THE FATHER FOR THE YOUNG''. The animator of the retreat was Fr. Giovanni Mazzali, the Provincial of Sicily.
Twice a day the preacher animated the participants with well prepared talks, elaborating on different parts of the Lord's prayer and analyzing them in the light of the Salesian Mission, Spirituality and Pedagogy. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Silent Adoration services, group rosary and well prepared sermons and Good night talks were instrumental in encountering the Lord intimately.

Among all the sermons, the one given by Fr. Silvanus Sngi on 9th August while celebrating a Mass for the deceased confreres, was truly memorable. He deftly merged the parable of the talents with the memory of the deceased confreres. ''They too were men of talents'', he said ''and they deserve their rewards double-fold''. He pointed out that ''they have not died (stop living) but have gone before us in procession to the New Jerusalem''.

On the second day of the retreat Fr. Paul Panachickal shared his experiences of the vibrant mission of Tripura. He highlighted the fact that ''Tripura is still open to evangelization'' and affirmed that greater emphasis was required to strengthen the Catholic and Salesian presences in that Region.    

The 9th of August, the day for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, commenced with a special Penitential Service animated by Fr.Mazzali, and the day concluded with an inspirational movie -''Letters to God''.

The point of climax of the Retreat was the concluding Mass on 11th August presided over by Fr George Maliekal, the Provincial of Silchar.  The retreat was indeed an important moment in the lives of the confreres who took part in it. They have returned to their respective places of ministry with renewed enthusiasm, and re-charged sprits.        
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