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Spiritual Awakening for Youth

By Father Joby Joseph SDB
Participants of the Youth Retreat at St. Anthony`s College, Shillong
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Shillong, Sep. 12. The annual youth retreat of St. Anthony's College was conducted from  the 31st August - 2nd September 2018. The three days event of this year witnessed a larger participation of young people than other years. The retreat was animated by Shri. Colin Calmiano  from Bangalore.
Mr. Colin is a lay animator committed to full time ministry of the Word. He is mostly involved in preaching retreats around the world for young people and families. Under the title of   Spread Your Wings,  the ministry of Colin reaches out to many around the world  giving them a sure founding in the Divine Word and Christian faith.

The sessions by Colin were highly appreciated by the young who attended the three days of prayer. Through a style very appealing to the young minds, he awakened them to greater challenges of Christian living and bearing witness to Jesus the true prince.

Mr. Anil Antony  assisted Mr. Colin with the music ministry. Anil is a familiar face to Shillong, this being his 10th retreat at St. Anthony's. His beats and hymns always have the youth on their feet.

The Jesus Youth team of Shillong looked into the praise and worship during the retreat days. Through their deep and prayerful acts of worship, all were brought closer to the experience of the Divine. The skits and dances always carried a deeper message of surrender and trust to the Almighty. The 2nd day's praise and worship in the morning was animated by the young charismatic team of Youth United for Christ from the city.

The first day of the retreat saw a crowd of near about 1800 youngsters. The numbers kept increasing and the final day the count was over 3000 youngsters. Each day had two sessions by the animator alongside  praise and worship by the JY team. An hour of Eucharistic adoration and the Celebration of Holy Eucharist was the summit for each day of the retreat.

The first day's Holy Mass was celebrated by Father Saji Stephen, to whom we owe a lot for making this annual event a spiritual trade mark of Anthony's. The second day's Mass was by His Grace Arch Bishop Dominic Jala. On the final day, we had Father Devasia Vazhayil to share the Divine word in a style very appealing to the young.

The retreat of the year ended by each young person making a promise before the Lord to be regular in the practices of the sacraments and reading of the Word.  

Following the youth retreat of the students, Mr Colin animated  all the Catholic teaching and support staff of the College for half a day. He spoke to them specifically on the Christian calling and being a witness of Jesus in one's profession. The session was highly appreciated by the staff.

Archbishop Dominic  Jala too dropped in for the Holy Eucharist of the day with the Staff. His Grace called on the staff to be living witnesses of the faith in and outside the class rooms. He called on the teachers to create arenas where matters of faith and morals can be given wider expression in the forms of writing and discussions.

Following the College events, Shri. Colin conducted a three days retreat for families in the Grotto Chapel in the evenings. The sessions started around 4.00 pm with Eucharistic adoration followed by a talk and ended with the Holy Eucharist. Though it was the first of its kind for the Grotto community, we saw a packed crowd on all the three days. The third day of the event ended with the renewal of the promise by all the married people. The three days of prayer and reflection brought in a flame of renewal within. May the Lord fan this flame in the families and keep it burning.

The last phase of the retreat was for the students of St. Anthony's College Extension Campus at Byndihati, East Jaitia Hills. Being the first time at the Campus, it was a unique experience. The event was on the 8th and 9th of September. Over three hundred young people attended the event.
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