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Catechist Retreat 2019

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The central theme that is echoing in my mind for this year’s Lent is Repentance, Renewal and Expectation. As I journeyed to the Methodist Centennial Chefoo Centre in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, my hope was that I would be able to live out the central theme of Lent. I was not disappointed. During the retreat which was held from 8-10 March, I listened to Fr Simon Pereira (Novena Church, Singapore) as he shared his experiences and key points on rediscovering our calling as catechists. I began to ponder on the four key points, namely encounter, response, transformation and mission.

I reflected on my six years as a catechist. Have I encountered Jesus in my lessons, in my students, and in my colleagues? How can I have this encounter? As Fr Simon illustrated in his talk, we meet Jesus in the Eucharist, who alone empowers us to do His mission. Still, the burning question remains: How should I respond to Christ's invitation to encounter Him? As a catechist, I know the answer. As a disciple of Christ, I still lack the courage and will to live the answer. I realise I still have a long way to go. This is my repentance stage. In humility, I know who I am and I know where I was. This is what my 2019 Lent is shaping up to be. I need to pray for the grace to accept God’s will in my life. I spent the rest of my available free time at the retreat centre praying the Rosary and other chaplets. This practice helps enlighten me as I seek to empty myself and cast myself at the foot of the Cross.

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Through God’s love and mercy, I hope I can be transformed into being in the image and likeness of God – renewed. Renewed to undertake the mission of spreading the Good News to little “lambs” entrusted to my care in my Catechism class, with the expectation that He would make all things new in our life as a caring and welcoming community. As I relive the moments at the retreat centre, I cannot help but feeling blessed having attended the Catechist retreat. I made it a personal journey of repentance, renewal and expectation. I have gained some insight that would make my spiritual journey enriching this Lent and beyond as I encounter our Lord’s grace, mercy and love, guiding me to respond to His calling to be a faithful and vibrant catechist. by Vikram Pio Martin

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It was an eye opener for me, a member of the Sunday school support team which was invited along, because church retreats usually are supposed to be quiet. But not this one. Fr Simon Pereira's sermons were interesting and meaningful. He understands what the youths are facing today and he guided us as educators to be at their level, to understand them, to love them and to know more about God. I already look forward to next year's retreat. by Josephine Tan

My first time attending the retreat was an experience I’ll never forget. During the three days, I was given the opportunity to meet new people, and forge friendships through sharing, song, and growing in faith and love. by Angela Chan

The location was beautiful and it was a very nice retreat. Fr Simon helped us grow spirtually and I was given the opportunity to lead praise and worship. by Adrien Rahul

My first experience definitely impacted me in various aspects of my life, both spiritually and mentally. The support given by all the catechists and Fr Simon were truly inspiring and a major blessing to me. Each one of them managed to touch my heart and make me a better person. by Isabella Wong

As for my first experience in this cathechist retreat, I honestly thought I would feel out of place with the older cathechists around. But getting to know them all and spending time with them was completely fulfilling and amazing. The testimonies of some of the cathechists and Fr Simon's talk really had a great impact on me, especially on ways to connect with students. I thank Fr Simon for coming all the way to Cameron Highlands and being there with us and most importantly to the teachers who helped make this retreat possible. The best thing in the retreat was when we sat down together in the hall and talked to one another about the things we like about each other. by Tiffeny Joy Jankins

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