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Shalom Alechem: SAC Youth Retreat 2019
By Father Joby Joseph
Shillong, Aug. 29. Shillong: The annual youth retreat at Saint Anthony's College Shillong was held from 24 - 26 August 2019. This year's youth retreat was animated by the internationally acclaimed preacher Mario  Joseph, his wife Gigi Mario and Anil P accompanying with the music for praise and worship. A greater crowd of young people than other years came to pray and sing praise to the Lord at this retreat.  The first day of the retreat had over 2000+ young people and the numbers kept increasing reaching up to over 5000 on the last day.
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The sessions by Mario and Gigi were much appreciated as they led them through articles of the Catholic faith  along the themes of Love of God, Effects of Sin, Inner Healing and  Living in Grace. The sessions were deeply rooted in the teachings of the Catholic faith and for the young, they could also find reasons to make their faith more understandable. The Provincial , Father Paul Olphindro sdb, was the main celebrant for the first day's Holy Eucharist.
The second day was the day for confessions where over 60 priests  were available for 3000+  young people  and  finished the sacrament in two hours. Holy Eucharist of the Day was by Father Devasia Vazhayil sdb.  On 26th , Sunday we had His Grace Arch Bishop Dominic Jala sdb, to preside over the Holy Eucharist and pray for the young. The three days retreat ended with the prayer of anointing for each, prayed over by the laying of hands by priests empowering them to be ambassadors for Christ. The participants included people of all ages, students from the colleges and schools of the town, candidates in formation from almost all houses of the town and a great number of religious.
We  prayerfully remember all those who contributed by their prayer, presence and sacrifices to make this retreat possible. We pray for the animators Mario, Gigi and Anil   and their families. We were also blessed with the presence of Dr. Boby Chemmannor, who accompanied the team at this retreat.
In the evenings of the three days 24th -26th , the animators also spoke to the faithful at the Grotto Chapel for an hour on importance of family and building families as the domestic churches. On the 27th , Monday the team held a day's convention at St. John Bosco Parish Sohra, where over 2000 people attended. On 27th Tuesday,  Mario and Gigi spoke to the Catholic staff of St. Anthony's College and other institutions of the town on the importance of living the Catholic faith and witnessing it as families. The Jesus Youth Team and the Youth United for Christ group animated the praise and worship sessions of the days.
As we turn to the Lord with grateful hearts for all the wonders He works in human hearts, we pray that His presence in us may bring forth a change in the world around us through peace. May  the Lord make us all instruments of His peace. And that was the prayer of this retreat:  Shalom Alechem
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Shalom Alechem: SAC Youth Retreat 2019
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