Last year’s Embrace the Grace conference would not have been complete without the availability of the Sacraments and daily prayer time.
In particular, before the prayer session on Friday evening, guest speaker Fr Stephen Gorddard, spoke about Reconciliation, touching on topics such as mortal and venial sins, the process of the Sacrament and the joy, freedom and peace thereafter.
CYM staff members Eliza McKay and Josh Low also shared with the youth the graces they received by taking part in this practice as a prelude to Adoration.
The almost two hours in Adoration were spent in silent and personal prayer by the participants, with some praying the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet and journaling, while contemplative music was played intermittently in the background.
Having attended Embrace the Grace as a young layman, seminarian and now a priest, Fr Stephen believes that Mass, adoration and Reconciliation play an important role in everyone’s spiritual lives.
“The Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, as well as Adoration, are really important for any retreat because the point of a retreat is to come and be with our Lord. But as we draw closer to him, we realize that discipleship is a call to conversion and I think that’s really at the heart of growing in our spiritual life,” he said.
“So for me, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation is really critical for going deeper in our discipleship with Jesus as He asks us to leave things behind and to come follow Him.”
First time Embrace the Grace participant Tom Kenny-Simpson found Eucharistic Adoration to be a really profound experience.
“Tonight was extremely important for me, as I was overwhelmed by how enriching the experience is at ETG,” he said.
“It was an amazing opportunity to reconnect with God and to seek and be with Jesus and experience his mercy.
“I was struggling with some things and tonight was a beautiful opportunity to find Christ’s answer for me and to be with him.”
Fellow participant Joe Raymond believes that participation in Adoration and the Sacraments will strengthen him and his peers in their difficult moments.
“Adoration, Reconciliation and the Mass all provide you with the fuel to tackle life as this world can be a cruel place.
“It gives you the strength and conviction to keep going even if times are tough.”
“I think participation with my peers here at ETG in Adoration, daily Mass and Reconciliation is a beautiful thing; to share these gifts God has given us with my fellow brothers and sisters,” he said.
By Michael Soh