“I am a soldier in the Army of the Lord!” That was the chant of the youth at the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) National Conference as they marched throughout the auditorium of St Augustine Secondary School last week Saturday.
|Anika Johnson of Living Water Community offers a prayer for the youth during their presentation on Saturday.|
|The youth walk in the aisles during their presentation on Saturday.|
The youth segment, based on the conference theme “I have appointed you sentry to the nations,” commenced with a talk by Fr Trevor Nathasingh, who related the story of his conversion to Roman Catholicism and his vocation to the priesthood. He urged the youth to pray for a desire to know and love Jesus Christ and for Sunday Mass to become a life-changing experience.
Referencing the scripture passage John 10: 10, Fr Nathasingh likened the challenges facing today’s youth, for example sex and drugs, to a thief that came in the night to destroy. He told them that seeking the Kingdom of Heaven and making Jesus Christ the top priority in their lives was the key to enjoying the abundant life promised to all by God. In addition, he said the Church’s youth should strive to become healthy and educated young Catholics, deeply rooted in spirituality, and with the aim of being living witnesses in the world.
On the heels of Fr Nathasingh’s talk, a member of the laity – Henry Charles – took a different spin on the role of youth in society. Charles noted that the youth were mostly seen in a negative light, even though there were many who made positive contributions to the nation. He defined the concept of a sentry to the young participants, taking time to ensure they understood the responsibility ahead of them.
The youth were then divided into two groups for an interactive session: those 13 years and under assembled in a separate room under the supervision of Charles’ wife Madgerie, while those 14-25 years were broken up further into two groups and remained with Charles. The exercise entailed the youth responding to questions concerning the role of a sentry and how the Church, the Government and society could help young Catholics become sentries to the nation.
The interactive session concluded with the groups sharing the fruits of their various discussions. Charles remarked that the responses were very impressive and profound, and that it was good for the youth to have outlets where they could enter into open discussion about issues relating to their faith and the Church. He also affirmed the youth as sentries by stating that they were best positioned to carry out the revival and transformation within the Church – and recalled the role of young David in the battle against Goliath.
Before the youth segment ended, Fr Nathasingh laid hands upon each youth participant and prayed for God’s anointing on the Church’s potential sentries.
Having been inspired by the activities of the morning, the youth made a powerful presentation to the general audience during the post-lunch segment. Assembling on the stage in a manner similar to a platoon of soldiers, several of the youth presented passionately on what had been discussed during their morning session – and were greeted by thunderous applause from the audience.
The young Catholics then proceeded to march throughout the auditorium, gathering others as they went, while singing “Marching in the light of God.” They ended by congregating in front of the stage and CCR chairperson Deborah de Rosia requested the crowd to join her in praying for them. The youth then marched off singing “These Jericho Walls.”