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BUNDU TUHAN – A hundred made it to the Children’s Liturgy annual retreat, organised by the SHC Children’s Liturgy Ministry at the retreat centre here on 14-16 Mar 2016 with the theme “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you.”
Of the hundred who went, 73 were children while the rest were adults and young helpers who were there as volunteers to help manage the children.
The retreat master, Neil Mah, gave his talks based on the Holy Year of Mercy. Activities included The Way of the Cross, Washing of Feet and preparing the ‘Holy Door of Mercy.’
For one of the activities, participants were divided into groups of eight and each group drew up a picture based on one of the biblical stories depicting ‘mercy.’ The laminated pictures were then pinned on the frame of the main door, on which other pictures of merciful acts by people in general were also displayed. Prior to preparing this ‘Holy Door,’ Neil Mah showed some video clips which helped the children understand how mercy was shown in the bible parables and events in Jesus’ ministry.
After the ‘Holy Door’ activity was completed, every time participants entered or exited the ‘door,’ they would say a prayer and sing a short song on mercy.
During the Way of the Cross session, the passion of Christ was explained to the children, which lasted about an hour.
The washing of feet also helped to give the children an understanding of Jesus humbling Himself before his disciples. Some children were touched during this solemn activity. Adults and young helpers all participated and most felt humbled and touched while washing the feet of others.
Other activities included recitation of the Holy Rosary during a Morning Prayer session, some light games to give the children some play time, morning exercises led by the young adult helpers. Not only did the young adult helpers do a commendable job in leading the children during the morning exercises, but they also managed the children well with action songs and games.
Adam Leong (10) said that he believed he was touched by the Holy Spirit while watching the short clips on “The Prodigal Son.” It taught me that no matter what we do, God our Father in heaven will always forgive us.
Shawn Leong (16) said that he was inspired by all the short clips about the “Parables of Mercy.” I learned a lot about mercy, like forgiving one another and about sacrifice. I also learned about the “Holy Door of Mercy” and the true meaning of mercy. This year I was chosen to be a group leader. I’m glad to serve God.
Bryan Leong (18) felt blessed and happy to join the camp and to participate as a helper. I learned a lot and was touched, especially during the part of “washing of the feet” when every member in my group came up to wash my feet.
The Boey family (Arielle, 9, Samuel, 10, Shawn, 12 and Abigail, 14) now understand about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, why the Pope announced it, the prayer for entering the Holy Door, knowing God’s mercy shown through the examples of mercy in the parables and stories of the bible. They were happy to be able to participate and work together in ‘making’ the Holy Door.
They shared their understanding on how Jesus went through His sufferings by learning about the Stations of the Cross. They were also now able to understand how little their suffering is compared to Jesus’ suffering. The washing of feet helped them to see Jesus’ humility and service. They would definitely join the camp again and were inspired to give themselves over to serve when they are older. – Vera Golinsu