Sandakan Catholic Campus Students meets virtually

At a time when people are struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church is also trying to find ways to reach out to the people.

Jan 15, 2021

SANDAKAN: At a time when people are struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church is also trying to find ways to reach out to the people. This is what the Sandakan Diocesan Youth Apostolate (SDYA) is doing with the use of media and technology which is increasingly a trend in connecting with people now.

The SDYA recently organised the 4th Catholic Campus Students Gathering (CCSG) programme. It was supposed to be in October 2020 but due to COVID-19 it had to be postponed.

It was then held virtually for three days Dec 4-6, 2020. A total of 50 Catholic campus students comprising working youths and campus student as well as Form Six  students participated in this online gathering themed Arise.

They began with an opening Mass by Fr Dafrinn Diwol who is also the Spiritual Advisor for SDYA. In his homily, he reminded all to live the faith by serving their families and the community. Fr Dafrinn also called on campus youths to rise not physically but by faith in God.

The first day was a reflection on the theme Arise, presented by Raynold Thomas. The formula for Arise was shared with the participants that required a personal response to ‘rise up’ with Jesus Christ. They ended the day with a video Restore sung by Catholic students from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.

On the second day, Sr Rusiah Garuk, fsic, focused on Relationship with God. The session began by inviting them to get to know the personality of Jesus. With this introduction, they learned to have a genuine friendship with Jesus based on Pope Francis’ document, Christus Vivit. She touched on friendship with Jesus. Friendship with Jesus cannot be broken. Although people repeatedly end their friendship, Jesus faithfully waits for their ‘return’ and renews the friendship (CV 150-157).

Many people are affected by the  COVID-19 pandemic and unable to go on with their normal lives. Some have experienced emotional and mental disorders which led to depression.

So, on the third day, the organisers touched on Mental Health. It was presented by Daria P Joseph K, a counsellor and lecturer at Sidma College Sabah / UNIRAZAK, Sabah.

This session was very helpful for students to understand the situation and ways to cope with it.

After every session, the Liturgy Team invited the youth to reflect  and share based on the sessions presented. This helped the participants to delve into the sessions presented as well as to express their feelings and thoughts in a personal way.

At the end of the programme, the Liturgical Team led the youths for a discernment session. Each participant scanned the theme for the first day followed by a video entitled Arise. They were then asked to write a word or draw a picture that showed they had ‘risen’ and post it on the Sandakan Diocesan Youth Facebook Page. ––Sandakan Dospo

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