Penang youth leaders go on retreat

The inaugural Penang Diocesan Youth Network (PDYN) Leadership Retreat was held at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit from April 9 to 12.

May 03, 2024

The inaugural Penang Diocesan Youth Network (PDYN) Leadership Retreat was held at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit from April 9 to 12. This retreat was designed to nurture and equip young individuals, aged 18 to 29, with leadership skills inspired by Christus Vivit 64 - ‘You are the “now” of God’. It targeted mainly parish youth and campus students throughout the Diocese of Penang.

Day 1 began with registration by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) from the host parish. A total of 44 participants, including parish youth, campus students, and working adults, attended the retreat. That evening, an opening Mass was celebrated by Fr Simon Anand, head of PDYN, with Frs Francis Anthony, Desmond Jansen, and Esmond Chua, OFM as concelebrants. Following the Mass, Fr Simon delivered a keynote address.

The focus of Day 2 at the retreat was Spirituality, designed to help participants understand their identity in Christ and to develop self-leadership before leading others. The day kicked off with the Lauds prayer, followed by a praise and worship session led by David Chan and his team. Samuel, a key member of the main organising team, facilitated an icebreaker to warm up the group. Audrey Cheah then took the stage to discuss Identity. She explored our identity in Christ and our call to respond, prompting participants to reflect on their life’s purpose. This was followed by a session on “Emotional Well-being” led by Dr Mary Bharathy, which provided valuable insights into managing stress, mental health, and resources for support. The day wasn’t just filled with sessions; one of the highlights was an outdoor Scavenger Hunt, emphasising the retreat’s dynamic approach to learning and engagement.

Day 3 of the retreat was guided by the theme In the World but not of the World. The day began with morning prayer, followed by a session led by Stanley Sudhagaran. The session started with the interactive card game ‘Build Your Town,’ where participants assumed the roles of parliament members tasked with town development, emphasising good governance and reforms. The game was not only enjoyable but also encouraged the development of strategic thinking.

The subsequent session, led by Johnny Bong, focused on “Financial Literacy.” Participants gained insights into financial prudence and explored the biblical perspective on stewardship, raising awareness about managing finances in their lives as youth, students, and for their future. Following this, the sixth session was on the topic of Sexuality, with separate sessions conducted for male and female participants. Fr Michael Raymond, OFM, Cap, led the session for males, while Sharon Nicholas conducted the session for females.

The last session was the Healing Mass and Confession, celebrated by Fr Simon and Fr Desmond. This was an intentional element of the retreat, providing participants with personal time with God, to reflect on their purpose for attending the leadership retreat and experiencing a renewed encounter with Him. On the final day, we engaged in Spiritual Conversations and listened to testimonies from the participants. Subsequently, everyone prepared for the Mass. As the candles illuminated the space, they symbolised the participants’ commissioning to be the light of the world and good shepherds within their parishes and campuses.

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