Surrey: Exciting SLR Ignites OLGC’s Youth Ministry Team

Surrey: OLGC Valdocco SLR

By Mrs. Beth Reyes, Coordinator of Youth Ministry, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish

(Surrey, BC – April 17) – In a weekend of faith, fun, and newfound friendships, Our Lady of Good Counsel’s (OLGC) youth ministry team organized a Salesian Leaders Retreat (SLR) that set hearts on fire from Friday, March 15, through Sunday, March 17, at the Don Bosco Youth Centre (DBYC). This retreat marked a pivotal moment as it aimed to mold the next wave of dynamic youth leaders within the parish.

The SLR wasn't just another event—it was an immersive experience that delved deep into the spirit of Don Bosco's Valdocco oratory. Twenty enthusiastic youths embarked on a journey of prayer, play, reflection, dialogue, shared meals, and boundless enjoyment throughout the retreat.

Five dedicated youth and five adult facilitators, plus our pastor, Fr. John Cosgrove, guided these young leaders. They all worked together to ensure a transformative experience. The presence of the Salesian priests added a sacred touch, as they offered the Eucharist, Confession, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, thereby infusing the retreat with spiritual guidance at every turn.

Day One: A Vibrant Start

The retreat kicked off with an array of icebreaker activities, which broke down barriers and fostered a sense of unity among participants. Next, the group joined the parish in the Stations of the Cross. Sr. Marie Fe, Br. Rob Malusa, and CYM Mrs. Beth Reyes illuminated the evening with insights into Jesus, Don Bosco, his dream, and the Valdocco oratory model. The night concluded with a heart-stirring sharing session and adoration led by the inspiring Fr. Junji Zarate.

Surrey: OLGC Youth 1
OLGC Valdocco SLR participants and leaders
Courtesy of Mrs. Beth Reyes, CYM
Day Two: Journey of Discovery

The second day commenced with invigorating morning dance exercises and calming breathing meditations. These set the tone for a day of self-discovery and growth. Two young teens shared their profound stories of faith and community involvement, which shed light on their personal journeys with Jesus amidst life's trials.

Back at the DBYC, they prepared food bags for the Surrey Urban Mission, a tangible expression of their dedication to helping those in need. This act of generosity was made possible by the funds raised from a youth volleyball tournament organized weeks prior.

The evening was a blend of solemnity and celebration. Participants served at Mass as choir members, altar servers, readers, and ushers; they participated in adoration and the sacrament of Reconciliation. In these ways, they deepened their spiritual connection with the Lord. They loved the sacraments a lot.

The evening concluded with a cozy bonfire session, complete with s’mores, fun games, and heartfelt sharing.

Day Three: Empowerment

On the final day, participants were commissioned and sent forth by our director, Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam. Each received a symbolic Rosary bracelet as a memento of their journey. The retreat provided countless avenues for creativity, sharing, and collaboration, which left an indelible mark on all involved.

The Valdocco SLR was more than just an event—it was “a dream within a dream,” a vibrant tapestry of faith, fellowship, and leadership. As the youths left, their hearts were full and their spirits ignited, ready to spread the light they found during these transformative days. The Salesian spirit thrives within OLGC. Each participant carries forth the flame of Don Bosco's vision into the world and embodies the essence of servant leadership and community engagement. The SLR was not just a retreat; it was a catalyst for a new generation of leaders, poised to make a difference in their parish, to move forward with the momentum to keep them engaged in their communities, and beyond.

As the echoes of laughter and shared prayers fade, the impact of this retreat lingers—a testament to the power of faith, friendship, and the Salesian spirit. The Valdocco SLR has left an indelible mark on OLGC's youth ministry. It sparked a fire that will continue to burn brightly in the hearts of all who participated. They want to serve in the parish, more in the Youth Mass, Funtastic Friday, and special liturgical and prayerful events, such as the Stations of the Cross, washing of the feet, feast days, and more.

Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam extends his appreciation to the organizers, namely Mrs. Beth Reyes, Sr. Marie Fe, and Br. Rob Malusa, for their commendable coordination and active involvement.

April 17, 2024 - 8:40am
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