We have a finite time to receive God’s infinite love here on earth. Let that sink in. When I heard these words, it put into perspective how important our role as catholic missionaries is; every encounter with youth could either lead them towards or away from God. As we finish off the month of March, the end of our time at St. Anthony of Padua quickly approaches; two more months. We only have two more months to facilitate an encounter with Christ for the youth.
As you may recall from last month, we have been working closely with the grade seven students from St. Anthony of Padua Elementary school; we have come to the end of our nine-week Alpha program. The students were very receptive and they enjoyed their Alpha retreat so much, that we decided to have another retreat just for them. During this retreat, we looked at what it means to become a disciple of Jesus. We talked about how following Jesus doesn’t mean that your life will be easy, but it means that Jesus will be with you every step of the way, especially during those difficult moments of life. Towards the end of the retreat, we had a time of adoration where students were welcomed to come and pray with a netter. One youth came up and asked very vulnerably for this intention:
“To find peace during times where I am worried and stressed. Also for all the people in the world that have strayed away from Christ’s love.”
We invited her to commit herself to living a life for Christ by praying a prayer with us. She accepted this invitation and showed her commitment to Christ by signing her name and the date on the back of the prayer card. Praise the Lord! She came to accept God’s infinite love and is now living a life centred around Christ. Please pray for these students that they have continuous strength and courage to keep taking a step closer to Christ each day and living a Christ-centred life.
To help the youth develop a more personal relationship with Christ, we have switched our monthly youth nights to weekly events. Weekly youth nights allow more opportunities to build Christ-like relationships with their peers outside of school. Each night has a high-energy game/activity followed by small group discussions. A big hit this month was our Karaoke and Just Dance night; the youth loved laughing at the netters trying to sing and dance. One student, when asked if she is coming back next week, replied “Oh yeah, I’ll be back every week!” And she has not missed a night yet.
Overall, though we have only a limited amount of time with these students to show them God’s love, we do not despair; we are motivated and encouraged. All we can do is our best and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit. In the end, people have to accept God’s infinite love in their hearts with the finite time that they have for themselves.
So I ask you, have you accepted God’s love into your own heart? It’s up to you to choose just as these youth have.
-written by Louise Lapain