By: Johnny Martinez
Greetings Salesian family! The Salesian spirit and mission to the young on the peripheries was alive and moving this past weekend at St. Joseph’s for our second young adult ‘Agape’ retreat in two months. Over the course of Friday August 30th to Sunday September 1st, twenty-four young people ages eighteen to thirty experienced a powerful encounter with our Lord. The Holy Spirit was definitely moving and breathing through our wonderful Spirit team who brought the energy every time it was time for meals, skits, or a big smile! Part of the Agape the candidates received through being served their food like at a sit down restaurant, a symbol of God’s love for them! Our kitchen crew powered by Salesian cooperators Dave and Dolores alongside St. Joseph family Mike and Florsie dished up delicious meals as the Spirit team served hot meals to the candidates. Nine out of the thirteen candidates from Agape #1 returned to pay it forward and helped Johnny, Fr. Paul, and the St. Joseph’s Young Adult Core Team serve the retreat. We are eternally grateful for the generous gifts God is giving us!
The young people came from all different walks of life and religious backgrounds. One young person was a freshman at the University of California, Riverside, Josh Lamb-Riley, who shared “honestly, I came in an atheist, I believed in science, but this weekend Jesus has touched my heart and I want to follow Him now”. This was one of the many testimonies to God’s glory this weekend and a perfect testament to the mission of the St. Joseph’s young adult retreats. The focus of the retreats is not to go after the young people that are already involved in the Church and ministry but to go after all those young people that do not know Jesus yet in an intimate way. We at St. Joseph’s are walking with the Church and the mission of Jesus who said of Himself “I came to seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10) and again “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk 2:17). The aim of the Agape retreats is to call all of the young people who are lost, without a meaningful relationship with The Risen One, home to Christ’ Church. This too walks with the mission of Don Bosco who began his oratories when he saw the young people on the streets of Turin who were not being ministered by the local parishes. Today we ask, ‘where are the young people, they don’t come to Mass anymore?’ The answer is no! They are not coming to us any longer, we must go find them! Guided by the Holy Spirit and the in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Joseph’s and our Agape community say: “Here I am Lord, Send me!”
Yours in Christ,