By: Marisol Becerra
Youth Ministry Office Assistant
The Coordinators for Youth Ministry retreat began with a dinner on Friday night to welcome all the CYMs as everyone arrived. Fr. Fabian began the first session where he stated the impacts that the COVID pandemic has had on us and our Salesian sites, but also the impact of the war in Ukraine and the need to pray and accompany all those affected by this catastrophe. He then stated that this retreat aimed to provide a space for encounter, reflection, and relaxation. These three objectives were to strengthen our identity as Salesians and provide moments to reinvigorate our Salesian zeal in our specific sites. We then had a goodnight by our Provincial, Fr. Mel Trinidad, to provide encouragement and accompaniment as the retreat began.
On Saturday, we started the retreat with Mass and breakfast. Fr. Ted Montemayor led the first session for the day on the Strenna for 2022, “Do all through Love, nothing through constraint,” by St. Francis De Sales. This session provided deeper insight into the life of St. Francis De Sales and the impact that he had on Don Bosco. There was also a session on self-care and wellness and in the afternoon there was a tour of St. Dominic Savio Parish and St. John Bosco High School. The last session of the day centered around the Province Organic Plan priorities and there were great discussions and conversations on how to implement and move forward with them in each specific site. The night ended with a social outing and this allowed everyone to socialize and get to know each other better.
On Sunday, everyone had breakfast and we traveled to St. Joseph’s Retreat Center in Rosemead to begin to prepare to help the Salesian Volunteers Program with their homeless outreach that they do once a month. At least 25 other volunteers were helping out on this day and everyone pitched in to help prepare sandwiches and package food. The group carpooled to meet at Skid Row and we handed out food to the homeless. This experience was truly eye-opening and unforgettable. We witnessed the great need to provide for those less fortunate and we were reminded of the importance of Don Bosco’s mission to help those who are poor and on the margins. This weekend served as a reminder of what it means to live out our Salesian charism and the importance of finding moments to rest, pray and encounter Christ in our everyday lives.