“Rise Up, Do not be Afraid”
That was the theme for the Confirmation retreat that was held by the Salesian Parishes of Saint Mary’s and Santa Isabel in Boyle Heights. The retreat was led by youth leaders from St. Dominic Savio and Salesian Family Youth Center’s Oratory teams. The talks were given by the youth leaders who shared their personal experiences to help inspire and motivate the participants. The retreat speakers were supported by adults from the Salesian Family Youth Center, the parishes, and other volunteers.
The two day retreat was organized and supervised by JC Montenegro, Miriam Hernandez, and Anna Rosales. We are happy to report that the confirmation candidates shared that over all they enjoyed their retreat experience. The young people and their parents were also fortunate to have the presence of Salesians of Don Bosco, including Fr. Jimmy Nieblas, Fr. Marcos Castillo, Fr. Shiju, and Fr. Peter Lee (who led the Sunday Eucharist).
The retreat took place at the Saint Mary’s Parish Hall and made use of the school building attached to the parish. On Saturday students arrived at 9:00 am and went home at 10pm. Sunday everyone met back at 9:00 am once again and Parents joined their teens for a culminating mass. The retreat ended around 8pm that night. Sunday’s gospel served as a road map for the retreat’s theme and the talks that were chosen. During those two days candidates had small group discussions, a picture scavenger hunt, ice breakers, Q & A about their faith and an opportunity for reconciliation.
At the end of the retreat, participants had the opportunity to give their personal testimony in front of their parents. It was impressive to see the positive changes in attitude that many of the participants underwent during the retreat. The leadership of the young people of Savio’s Oratory, the Salesian Oratory, and the Adult leaders of the parishes of Saint Mary’s and Santa Isabel were crucial in making the retreat a success.
We would like to thank all the volunteers and donations from both parishes who helped to feed almost 100 people for two days and Mr. Luis Montenegro for directing everyone in the kitchen. The commitment and dedication of everyone involved made the retreat a life-changing experience for the participants, who are now better prepared to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. We hope to see more events like this in the future, as they are a testament to the spirit of the Salesian Family and the Salesian Province of the Western United States.