On the 13th of April 2019, St. Emilie’s Youth group organized a one-day event at the Vincentian Retreat Centre in Karrakup, Byford. With the theme ‘Scripture in Nature’, the aim of the event was to give young people an opportunity to encounter the Lord personally, amidst nature, as well as enjoy camaraderie and fellowship.
St. Emilie’s Youth group collaborated with neighbouring parishes to organise it’s second Inter-parish youth event in the Canning Zone, attracting 56 young people from 7 parishes across Perth (the first being a Youth Plenary Council 16th Feb 2019). The Vincentian Retreat Centre in Karrakup, located on farmland and bordering State forests was an ideal location for this event.
Fr. Varghese, the Director of the Retreat Centre was very supportive from the outset and the youth were blessed to have not only the facility but an amazing opportunity to experience healing and power from above. One does experience peace and calm right from the moment of entering the retreat centre – a result of constant prayer and Adoration at the place.
Some teens testified the highlight of their day was the Praise and Worship led collaboratively by youth from St. Emilie’s Canning Vale, Sacred Heart Thornlie and Queen of Apostles Riverton. For some others, it was the endearing sharing of Brother Sheldon Burkes, on our Lady of Guadalupe, his WYD experiences and Pro-Life teaching.
Ryan studying at Thornlie Christian College testified that in spite of being a Catholic, he didn’t quite relate to Mother Mary until after Br. Sheldon’s talk on Our Lady. He now has a deep appreciation and desire to grow in intimacy to Mother Mary.
The program had a balanced mix of outdoor and indoor as well as spiritual and social activities which kept the youth engaged.
Fun-filled ice breakers were conducted by the Youth leaders of St.Thomas More and St. Emilie’s. Adoration and Confession by Fr. Varghese, Fr. Jean-Noel Marie and Fr. Patricio – from St. Emilie’s Canning Vale, provided an opportunity for the youth to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, just before Holy Week. Rachel Dellaca from Bateman and Catherine Xavier from Canning Vale said Adoration was the high point of the day for them.
Another unique activity that connected the youngsters to God’s creation was feeding sheep, alpacas, and horses. Tons of energy and enthusiasm was on display including strumming the guitar whilst walking in nature and a surprise birthday celebration – Craig’s 17th birthday.
Many parents and sponsors prayed and worked lovingly to support this event.
Keisha from Thornlie wanted more of these events and Cameron from Canning Vale declared, ‘If this event is real, then Jesus is real’.