St Jude’s Journeying with Jesus Retreat – Theresa Corson

Our first Journeying with Jesus retreat at St Jude’s in Holder was a great day full of both fun activities and opportunities to stop and really take the time to reflect.

Year 6 got involved in the group games and activities with enthusiasm, cheering on their peers and giving it their best shot.

When we started to explore a bit more about this idea of our journey through life, and the importance of allowing Jesus to join us on this journey, many of the students shared insights into where they were at in their own faith journey, and how they were feeling about opening their lives to Jesus more. Some shared that this was something that made them a little nervous, or that they were unsure about. Others shared that the thought of bringing Jesus into their lives more made them feel safe, happy and excited.

Students had more opportunities to share about their experiences throughout the day in smaller sharing groups, led by the CSYMA Youth Ministers from around Canberra, who came and assisted for the day. Many commented that these groups were a highlight for them.

As the day progressed, we reflected on God’s love, and how having this in our lives is a bit like taking a water bottle on a long hike – it’s essential for our wellbeing. We then talked about how God’s presence in our lives can also be like a torch, shining a clear path for us to follow through the tricky times in life. In the final session we talked about how God’s mercy and forgiveness conquers everything. We compared this to a first aid kit, and how no matter how many times we are hurt, stumble, or make mistakes, God’s healing love is always there for us.

We ended with a time of reflection, where we thought about times in our lives when we may have encountered pain, or made a mistake, and how we might like to invite God into those moments. We invited the students into an activity where they could choose to take a small stone – representative of these times – and place it in a bowl of water, representing God’s cleansing and healing love for us.

At the end of the day we invited year 6 to join the new Youth Ministry Team at St Jude’s, to which we had a fantastic response, with more than half of the students signing up. We’ve now had our first youth ministry meeting as a team and are already excited to be planning our first youth mass for the parish.