Interview with Oka on Youth in the Spirit Seminar by Potter & Scribe
Please tell us what this seminar is all about. – you may share what went on during the retreat, the number of people attended and the demographics (like general age, gender and occupation) [I know this is open to youths aged 16-30. I just like to know the details specifically about this batch thanks]
Youth in the Spirit Seminar @ SMOTA is basically a similar Life in the Spirit Seminar targeted for youths and young adults. What this seminar is all about? It’s about conversion, it’s about rediscovering one own’s baptism, what it means to be a baptized Christian in Today’s world. It’s also about encountering God in one’s life. We follow the “Life in the Spirit team Manual: Catholic edition 2000”, and it states that the objectives of the seminar are:
a.To establish, or re-establish, personal relationships with Jesus.
b.To help participants grow their spiritual lives and their relationship with God.
c.To help participants yield to the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
d.To introduce participants to a life of service and community, particularly in the parish.
The seminar is designed to be 7 week long, but we extend it to 8 week long to include the week of Pentecost celebration. In each seminar we usually have a short prayer in the beginning. Mostly through singing songs and praising the Lord. After the prayer and singing, we continue with a short talk. All the speakers are youths and young adults, except for one session on repentence (Br. John Soh, our spiritual director). Then afterwards, one of the service team will give his/her life testimony, mostly related to the topic presented, which then continues with a sharing group discussion.
The seminar discusses about God’s plan for us, young people. In short, what God wants is LOVE. This is the first session which is about God’s Love. The second session talks about How much God Loves us through Jesus. Is Jesus really matters? shouldn’t we just live a good live and it’s enough? We try to answer this in the second session. The third session introduce the participants on Something that God is offering to each in everyone of us: New Life. What kind of life is it? Is it something that we really want to have? Then, the fourth session talks about God’s Gift, and how we ALL can receive it. This gift is more than just gold or problem-free life. The GIFT is a person. That person is the Holy Spirit, who is God himself. We believe that the greatest gift a person can give is himself and this is what God does! Br. John Soh presented a vision of repentence and what is NOT a true repentence. In between this session and the next, we arranged a session for Sacrament of reconciliation with the priests in St. Mary. Fr. John Paul and Fr. John Wong has kindly ministered to us 🙂
The fifth session is rather special since we don’t really have a talk. We begin in the afternoon with a short input on “the meaning of my baptism”. And then on the evening, the facilitators pray for their members for the Baptism in the Spirit. This is a time for the participants to say YES to the Gift, that is the Holy Spirit and to surrender their whole lives to the Lord.
on the sixth week, we do not have any session but we attend a Pentecost Triduum organized by SACCRE (Singapore Archdiocese Catholic Charismatic Renewal). The main speaker for the triduum was Fr. Gino Henriquez and it is concluded with a mass celebrated by the Archbishop. We want to bring the participants to be in union with the larger Church in the archdiocesan level and celebrate Pentecost together.
The last two weeks presents the future on how we can grow more in our relationship with the Lord and to be transformed each day. It presents a vision of discipleship and it equips us with the basic tools to start a life-long journey.
Throughout the 8-week seminars, each participants is given a prayer journal in which there are some reflection, scripture passages, and church teaching. The participants can write their “prayer experience”. It is one of the many ways to stop and listen to God and to oneself. In this way, we also learn to pray every day, and not just simply praying, but praying with the scripture and together with the Church.
We ended our YISS with a BBQ 🙂
The number of participants were 24 including the service team. So about half of them are the service team. The participants comes from different nationalities, locals, Philipinos, and Indonesians. The youngest was 18 and the oldest in the group was 34. Their occupations varies from auditor, acountant, IT programmers, engineers, secretary, web designers, architects, and researchers.
We divide the participants into four groups, two female groups and two male groups.
What have you benefited from it? What about the others?
About others, I will try to ask if anyone would like to share also their experience. If I can get someone, I will send it to you 🙂
Why did you decide to be part of this?
so why did I decide to be part of this? Simply because I can’t contain it. Jesus said, “freely you have received, freely you give.”
Were you involved in the previous seminars too? If yes, which are the ones?
Why is this seminar good for the youths? Why should they attend?
Why should they attend? They don’t have to attend. It’s not something necessary for those who have found the abundant of God’s love in their lives. Yet for those many who seek God, who seek what it means to be loved by the Unconditional Love, maybe this seminar can be a chance to experience the God who is Love. Moreover, it has helped me to understand my Baptism. It has helped many people to love the Eucharist. It has helped many to be devoted to the Church.
What were some memorable moments or events that happened in the retreat?
If there is a chance for you to promote this seminar to others, how would you “sell” this? What would you say?
Maybe I will share my life with them. I am a cradle catholic. I knew about God, but I didn’t really know God. I guess it all started when I had problem in my family. My relationship with my dad was quite bad and I didn’t speak to him for months. It was difficult. But God came and he became my friend. When I think of it again, He was so real. He accompanied me when I cried in my room every nights. But this is only God can do it, He reconciled me with my dad during the mass, particularly during the sign of peace and communion. After that I attend my first life in the spirit seminar and I decide to love Him more. It has been a wonderful journey with God. No matter what you think about Christianity and God, there is always MORE! Come and see.