A Personal Reflection by Youth Leader Kimberley Ngu
My teen years are in the distant past (sort of). So it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise when I say that I was rather apprehensive when I was first tasked with being part of the leadership team organising Santa Clara’s teens’ retreat. It didn’t take me very long to realise that I had absolutely no idea what it was like to be a teen any more.
I didn’t know their likes, their dislikes, their joys, their challenges, what’s cool, what’s not, the social pressures they face or the dilemmas that weigh upon their shoulders. They live in a very different landscape to what I lived in when I was their age. I grew up with MSN messenger, Friendster, calling friends on their landlines and dial up internet. There was no #ootd’s to live up to, no texts to reply when I should have been sleeping, no telling the world what I had for breakfast or no question of what Instagram filter I should use. These teens live in a world that is bombarded with so much information, that it is difficult to figure out which of these might be their overbearing problem in life.
I went into this retreat on my knees, not knowing what to expect, not knowing what to do. I had no choice but to surrender the souls of this alien breed to the all-knowing One. “Why do we do this?” I thought to myself. Why would we spend this time crawling through unfamiliar territory when we could much better spend these days doing more comfortable things? Then quite simply, these beautiful alien souls showed me why. That in this faith we believe, we experience something/Someone that grips our souls and make us want to see others experience something similar. As much as one might oppose the idea of faith or religion or the ‘higher power’, you cannot deny the fact that it is something that is capable of convicting one enough to have oneself eager to pass it on.
So being the fish out of water that I was, this fish learnt to embrace the world outside of the water. Together, we sat through three days of talks, games, awesome food and prayer. We had our leaders, Philemon and Alwin talking about the Trinity and taking up our crosses respectively. Monsignor Entwistle taught us the beauty of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Fr Johnson brought to us the graces of the Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Fr Manoel accompanied us in celebrating the Holy Mass, and Clare Pike gave some wonderful pointers for living our faith in our daily lives. One must not forget the generous cooks from the parish who drove down to Munster to feed our hungry tummies.
Apprehensive as I was, it was not difficult to remember why we were doing this. In the process, these teens also showed us why they were doing this. Alien breed as they are, perhaps we are not all that different after all.
The Santa Clara teens’ retreat – #thingsjesussaid was held at Woodmans Point Recreational Camp, Munster on 17-19 April 2015.
Santa Clara youth ministry will meet fortnightly starting Sunday 26 April 2015 at 6-8pm in the parish.