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By Fr. Joby Joseph SDB
Youth retreat at St. Anthony`s College Shillong
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Shillong, Jul. 21. Three thousand youth took part in the 2015 edition of the Annual Spiritual Retreat of St. Anthony's College, Shillong, 17-19 July 2015. The large retreat hall was packed to capacity with youngsters eager to have an intense experience of the Lord and spend three days in his company.
This year's retreat was animated by the Charismatic team from the Holy Redeemer Renewal centre, run by the MSFS fathers at Umroi. The team was led by Father Regi the director of the Renewal centre along with other fathers and lay collaborators. The theme of the retreat was Experiencing the Love of God.  The sessions and the sharing of the Word of God were all in the light of the theme. The team was also assisted by number of gifted counsellors who guided the students. The second day of retreat was set apart for the sacrament of confession. There were over forty five priests in the college campus administering the sacrament for over two hours. The Holy Eucharist for the day was celebrated by His Grace Dominic Jala sdb, Archbishop of Shillong. In his homily He exalted the young to a life of freedom and joy, which can be experienced in Christ alone.  

Father George Maliekal sdb, Provincial of the Silchar Province addressed the young participants of the retreat on the third day. He invited them to experience and grow in the love of the Lord. The Holy Eucharist of the day was celebrated by Father J. Shylla, the Youth Director of the Diocese.  During the adoration, Priests laid hands on each participant and prayed over for deliverance and outpouring of the Spirit. The retreat ended at about 6.00 pm.  The three days of prayer did really bring renewal in the hearts of all the young who took part in the retreat.  

The College has an active Jesus Youth team that looks after all Spiritual activities in the college. The team is under the direction of Father Saji Stephen sdb, the Rector and Prof. Linu John , a faculty and a Jesus Youth full timer at the college. The college also sends every year at least two members from its team to the Jesus Youth ministry training programme.

The team conducts daily adorations in the college chapel at 11.00 am and 3.00 pm for the two shifts of the college. Weekly prayer meetings are held on Saturdays in the college chapel and they bring together all active Jesus Youth members in the town. The JY team has also reached out to all colleges and schools in the city and have started prayer cells in these institutions.

Looking back one feels proud to see the spiritual renewal that has come about in the youth of the college due to these spiritual initiatives. Back in 2008, the college retreat used to have an attendance of about fifty students mostly candidates from the nearby formation houses.  It was astonishing to see nearly three thousand youth experiencing and being transformed with Christ.
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