ST. CHARLES GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL - VAKOLA: CATHOLIC STUDENTS' RETREAT
July 17, 2014
Fr. Glenford Lowe sdb, today conducted a day's retreat for nearly 100 students of STDs IX & X from St. Charles Girls' High School - Vakola. Sr. Jacinta, Principal of the school welcomed Fr. Glenn and introduced him to the students. The retreat for a novel experience for many first timers. The theme, 'My Life: Christ-full or Christ-less' was reflected upon through many exercises, personal reflections and group sharing. Sr. Shija too was present always to assist and help the students.
The session began with a prayer song, and then a PowerPoint presentation on 'Retreat: A Vacation with God, Others and Self'. The students were invited to understand the very concept of 'Retreat' and to have the courage to stop, retrace one's past journey and make commitments for change in the future. The initial exercise on 'River me' helped the students to focus on their 'point of departure' and to look at their 'point of arrival'. Spending time on each stage of the river and comparing it to one's personal journey, the students were able to connect with their past in a very reflective manner. At each stage, the students were asked to make a prayer of thanksgiving or a prayer of forgiveness. The students were then divided into a number of smaller groups. Time was given to share their personal stories. The students were then asked to identify 'where in their life's flow did they meet Christ?' The most important question, "Is you life more Christfull or Christless?" was then reflected and a few students came forward to share their personal testimonies. A short break followed with snacks being served to all of them.
After the break, the theme "Christ-full of Christ-less" was reflected on. Important points on 'Who am I?' and 'Whose am I?' was also touched upon, The importance of 'Faith' and 'Being a Prayerful Person' was also touched upon. Fr. Glenn also shared a lot of his own personal stories. The testimony of Immaculee Ilibigiza, survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, as depicted in her 91 day hide in a small 3X4 feet toilet, along with 7 others and her discovering God with faith was very touching.
The 'Our father' was then made very practical to the students. "The Our Father is more than just a 16 second prayer, it is a daily life style", he added. The final part of the session ended on focusing on Vocation and 'What is God asking of me today?' God has a plan for each one and it is our mission to find out and respond to the plan by saying, "Here I am Lord".
The day's retreat ended with a beautiful Eucharistic celebration. The students were invited to start being 'Eucharistic people' rather than mere 'Novena Christians'. Fr. Glenn took the time to explain the various parts of the mass. One could see the reverence and active participation in the whole Eucharistic moment. At the end of the session, the school Captain and Vice Captain came forward to propose the Vote of Thanks.
"It was a great retreat experience. We go for many sessions, but this one was a unique one. We are privileged that we got this great opportunity to participate in this session. Thank you Fr. Glenn" - Amanda Andrade X,C
"The experience of this session was very inspirational. it touched our hearts. Fr, you have enlightened our minds with your inspiring words. Thank you for spending your precious time with us. We will cherish these moments for the rest of our life" - Chrysan Fernandes, X - B
"Thank you Fr. for spending your unique time with your inspiring words. we are very grateful to you for sharing your wonderful experience with us. We have learnt a lot from you and you are like a source of inspiration in our life" - Monthi Mary D'Souza X-B
"Thanks a lot Fr. Glenn for spending your precious time with us. this indeed brought us closed to God and opened our eyes. We learnt the importance and true meaning of the Eucharist and we also got to discover ourselves deep within us" - Romana Silveira, X A
God bless you all and may your lives be a lot more 'Christful'!