by Michael Soh
Community Groups are an integral part of every Embrace the Grace youth conference, with this year’s conference being no exception.
Participants were divided based on their ages into four Community Groups, which included two Under-18 groups, with each one named after a Saint.
The four patron Saints of this year’s conference are St Dominic Savio (Under 18s), St St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Under 18s), Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (18-20 year olds) and St Jose Sanchez del Rio (21-25 year olds).
St Dominic Savio Community Group leader Clarence Goh picked that particular Saint for the teenagers to learn about and relate to.
“As an Under 18s group, we wanted a kid Saint because it’s easier for them to kind of relate to a younger Saint rather than an older one,” he said.
“Dominic Savio was the only Saint to be canonized whilst not being a Martyr. He’s a younger Saint at 14 years of age and he lived his life out as a Saintly boy, so that’s why we wanted our group to have that inspiration of someone to live rather than die for their faith.”
Each day had allocated times for Community Groups, meeting in four separate venues to learn about the lives of their patron Saints, discussing talks from the conference and rehearsing their special chant for Friday’s mini Olympics.
Friday morning’s Community Group for St Dominic Savio included a follow up of the previous day’s masculinity and femininity session, with group members being split into their respective genders.
“The reason why we split them up is I think in terms of who we are. The masculinity and femininity session is really important especially in the Under 18s group,” Clarence said.
“It’s very important to run around and revise the topic, especially any questions they have because in general, topics as broad as this are bound to have lots of questions that fall out from that session itself.
“So that’s why we split them up into these groups and then we swapped leaders as well so that they will just be able to have and express a girls’ and boys’ point of view.”
Community Group members were required paraphernalia to wear around to represent their patron Saints’ charisms throughout the conference, particularly for the mini Olympics, with members of St Dominic Savio being clad in green capes.