Friendship - Let’s Make a Change!
Saint Paul Massey Youth Retreat.
By Shirleen Fuimaono
The sixth of July marked the first ever St Paul’s Parish Youth Retreat at Te Mahurehure Marae in Point Chevalier, New Zealand under the guidance of Fr Mosese Tui SDB with the support of the Core Team, Group Leaders and parents.
The retreat occurred during the weekend of 6-8 July. The theme of the retreat camp was “Friendship - let’s make a change”. For years, we have had many youth groups: the Tongan youth group, the Filipino youth group, two Samoan youth groups, and a combine youth group that consisted of a few Filipinos and Samoans.
However, Fr Mosese saw the need to unite all these groups, regardless of their ethnicity, to work for the betterment of the parish as they are its future. So, more than 70 Samoan, Tongan, Filipino and Burmese boys and girls gathered together, not only for fun and games but mainly for prayer, praise and worship, and learning to become friends. Many of our youths see each other at church but do not really know one another since their different cultures tend to keep them apart.
Thus the youngsters were divided into four groups, each group given the name of an evangelist and a colour: Matthew (Green), Mark (Yellow), Luke (Red), and John (Blue). Each group consisted of a mix of ethnic individuals, thus paving the way for building bridges.
As Father Mosese asked: “How is it possible to make a change if we cannot build friendships? The retreat provided opportunities for friendship during the various games that each group competed in, and enabled many young people to gain confidence and to believe in themselves. There was not only competitive mini Olympics, team chants and talent quests, but also sharing meals together and even all of us sleeping in one hall as one family.
They always say that food brings families and friends together, and it certainly did, as no one felt hungry with the quantity and variety of delicious food on offer prepared by our Core Team with the help of the parents.
Mass was celebrated on Saturday at the Marae, and an inspiring video was viewed by everyone. The video, The Rebirth of an Eagle, shows the dramatic and painful bodily changes that an eagle has to undergo to extend its lifespan. Fr Mosese suggested that young people need to face similar choices and decisions if they wish to attain a fulfilling and constructive life. The message was reinforced in our Candlelight activity where we shared moments of silence and reflection. In the Talent Quest activity the singing of Michael Jackson’s song. “Man in the Mirror”:If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a CHANGE! conveyed further inspiration.
The Retreat concluded on Sunday with the newly established St Paul’s Youth Group singing at the 8.30 a.m. parish Mass celebrated by Father Mosese. Our parishioners were astounded to see a great sea of young people in maroon colours nearly filling up St Paul’s church and being quite unique in their ability to sing as a choir without the backing of any musical instruments but relying solely on voice harmonization in ‘a capella’ style.
We thank our parents for their support in making the St Paul’s Parish Youth Retreat possible. We are looking forward to our next Retreat in 2019.