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Recollection for Confirmation Children of Sacred Heart Church, Andheri (East), Mumbai
SOMEBODY’S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR
Oh Oh Sinner Why Don’t You Answer? Somebody’s Knocking At The Door!
On 12th November, our parish confirmation candidates gathered together for the first day of our Recollection at the Atma Darshan Chapel. The session began with the recitation of the Rosary. Fr. Merwyn D’souza, the principal of St. Paul’s Boys School, Dadar, was the resource person of the day. He spoke to us on God’s forgiveness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
We began with an activity. We were first asked to write what we felt about ourselves and later all those in our group including our animators were asked to write about us. At the end, we were overwhelmed to know what our friends thought of us and will surely cherish their comments. With this positive animation, we reflected on a few passages from the Bible on Forgiveness and God’s Mercy. Our group discussions during the day helped us to better understand the need for confession and why it should not be abolished. Fr. Merwyn gave us many examples on the need for forgiveness to aid our spiritual and emotional health. He also told us about the Seal of Confession and the need to be open during confessions, as it is Jesus who finally forgives us, not the priest. Father also taught us the hymn ‘Somebody’s Knocking at the Door’.
In the afternoon, we had an activity conducted on Social Sins. All 10 groups gathered together to prepare charts, skits and jingles. The topics we worked on were Bio-ethical violations such as birth control, drug abuse, polluting the environment, contributing to the widening divide between rich and poor, excessive wealth and creating poverty. This was a great opportunity for team work and the whole team wholeheartedly displayed their creativity streak. While we were immersed in this activity, we also became acutely aware of how we, un-intentionally and unknowingly sinned against Society at large.
During the breaks, apart from feasting on the tasty food provided by Joy Caterers, we also had the opportunity of bonding with our friends. The day ended with a Eucharistic celebration. We are grateful to Fr. Merwyn D’souza, our Parish Clergy Team and Confirmation Team for arranging these two wonderful days of Recollection. Our grateful thanks also go out to the SVD Fathers at Atma Darshan, who allowed us the use of their premises for the duration of our Recollection.
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME
Following the Christian path is always a challenge to begin with, but young adults of the 21st century are facing far more difficulties letting go of worldly things, than the past generations. The Second Day of our Confirmation Recollection was conducted by ‘Jesus the Real Vine Prayer Group’ mainly on this issue at the session held on 13th November, 2012.
The sessions were interspersed with Praise and Worship and Talks on various topics by people who had personally experienced the power of Christ. One of the main ideas that the Team instilled in us was that our God is not one of the past, but one whose power and presence can be felt even today, by each and every one of us, if only we let Him into our lives. This belief was shared through various testimonies of how the true and living God worked mightily in their lives.
The first talk was on ‘Repentance and Inner Healing’. It focused on the several temptations that today’s youth face and sometimes find hard to resist. We were led through a prayer, which made us aware of our mistakes and inspired to give ourselves to God and start afresh.
The next talk ‘My Grace is Sufficient For You’ revealed that God has great plans for all of us and has given us the grace to succeed in life. However at times, we feel our cross is too heavy and ask God to end our suffering. What we came to realize through the course of this talk, was that God prunes us so we can bear even more fruit. We were encouraged to ask God not to take away our cross but to ask Him to give us the strength to carry it.
We were then enlightened about the power of one’s tongue. Speech has the ability to move mountains; ‘what you say is what you are and what you become’. However, the power of the tongue can be misused by gossip, slander, criticism, flattery, lies and backbiting, only to take us away from God and our neighbour, yet we often fall into this sin. God’s Word is the only way to get back on track.
Another important topic touched upon was the sway of the media; its influence on our minds, our speech and our dress. We learnt to ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to close our minds to such temptations, and make our choices based on what God wants, not what we or the world wants of us.
Finally, we were taught how to pray. We now know, God is our best friend and is with us and talks to us. We have to listen to Him. The Lord is always ready to listen to our problems, our troubles, our successes and is our best friend, whom we have often taken for granted.
This session was an eye-opener as to how much we have been neglecting God our loving Father and inspired us to take up our cross and truly follow Him.
-Fr. John Singarayar SVD
Out Reach At Sacred Heart Church, Mumbai Province
It’s all about You Jesus
Wonderfully sumptuous was the spiritual banquet from 25th – 28th October 2012, at our parish grounds; the four days of outreach programme preached by bro. Trevor Lewis and his Jeevan Jal ministry. A lot of hard work was involved in organizing and arranging the outreach programme. All hard work and efforts was backed by our group of powerful intercessors. Thanks to the intercessors! This long awaited outreach programme began on the evening of 25th October. The spiritually thirsty were anxiously waiting like the parched land waits for rain. The entire place was beautifully lit and so were our hearts. The stage and altar beautifully bedecked with flowers creating a heavenly atmosphere.
The parish ground was filled with familiar as well as unfamiliar faces coming from far and near. Surely all came with a lot of hope and with great desire to be healed. And, yes, our LORD JESUS was waiting for us all, to heal us and to fill us with His love. Each day’s backdrop was artistic and meaningful. On day one the backdrop read, ‘It’s all about You Jesus’, indeed it was all about Jesus. Each evening began with celebration of the Eucharist and thereafter. We were led into praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus by the Jeevan Jal team. Praises of ‘Halleluiah’ resounded all over the grounds; thus preparing our hearts to receive His Word and His love.
On day one, the teaching was on ‘God’s love’, about the steadfast love of God, about sin, repentance and forgiveness. Various scriptures were quoted right from the book of Genesis. The very first day our hearts were filled with God’s love. Later we were led into repentance, asking God to pardon our sins and grant us the grace to forgive our enemies; as sin separates us from the love of God. For God loves the sinner but hates sin. Brother’s words were strong and powerful, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. By the Word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit our hearts were prepared for repentance and to make Jesus the Lord and Saviour of our life. Some committed their life to Jesus for the very first time while others recommitted their life to the Lord. The evening concluded with great joy, love and peace in our hearts.
The following days we were taught about personal prayer, how to worship Jesus, baptism in the Holy Spirit, Christian suffering, history of the catholic church, the Holy Bible, saints, Holy Mass, discipleship, purgatory, indulgences and about the existence of various cults. Almost every important subject was taught in detail in spite of time limitation. Each day there was a lot to learn, and I’m sure each one who attended must have surely felt as I felt, wish we could have more and more. Our hunger and thirst for God can never end here on earth. The love of God will always make us thirst for more of Him.
-Fr. John Singarayar SVD