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JWG Camp cum Retreat draws 145 participants

BUNDU TUHAN – One hundred and forty-five participants, comprising Primary 5 & 6 students and facilitators of the Joyful Weekend Gathering (Sunday School), as well as Children’s Liturgy English & Bahasa facilitators from the parish of Stella Maris, Tg Aru, attended a 3-day 2-night camp cum retreat at Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre Mar 24-26.

This camp, organized for the second year, focused on Lenten themes as it was held during the season of Lent. Neil Mah, Catechetical Coordinator of the parish, facilitated as retreat master.

In the first session the children in their groupings were tasked to find out the saint’s date of birth and birth place, his/her life story, date of death, date of their feast day in the Church calendar and group(s) that they are patron of. This activity is made more interesting this year as more than half of the saints used were Asian and African saints.

The second session focused on Lent, and the children were asked to discuss and present answers to: what is Lent, why we celebrate Lent, when does Lent start and end, and what Catholics are asked to do during Lent. Many children and also facilitators learnt something new, especially why we celebrate Lent and when does Lent end.

The children also viewed a video show on the Annunciation story (the day being the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord) taken from the Bible mini-series program. They were also led to see the connection of this event to Lent and Easter.

A viewing of the Bible mini-series program on events of Holy Week, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, to His suffering, death and resurrection followed. Participants were led to appreciate what Jesus had done for us.

With this deepened understanding, participants were led through the Stations of the Cross, with the opportunity of carrying a wooden cross at the end of each station. While carrying the cross on their knees, they were encouraged to unite all their sufferings and life challenges to the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Many children and facilitators experienced the love of God in this session.

On the final day, all groups staged a mini concert what they had learnt during this camp in song presentations and sketches. Each group was also given the opportunity to share with everyone what they had learned; that is. know more of Jesus, and more of Catholic Saints, meeting new friends, etc.  Bro Ben was invited as a special guest to the mini-concert, where at the end of the concert, he received a donation of RM1,035 for the Don Bosco Children’s Home from the participating children and adults, as part of their Lenten almsgiving.

Each participant was given a religious medal and a prayer book as souvenir to remember the camp by.

All participants also had the opportunity to attend two days of weekday masses at St Pius X Church, together with the local community.

The camp is part of the JWG activity and assessment criteria. All class levels from JWG Primary 4 to Form 4 are required to organize a camp cum retreat annually. The objectives are to enable the children not only to learn spiritually, but also to live as a Christian community, to foster greater bonding with their classmates and their facilitators, and in doing so they wouldl be motivated to attend their weekly JWG classes. – By Neil Mah

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