We inspired the young people to reflect on the idea that Advent is not just about celebrating Jesus’ coming to live amongst us 2017 years ago, but even more about welcoming Jesus into our lives every day.
Our retreat day was based on the candles of the advent wreath, representing, Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Christ, who brings these four gifts when we let him into our lives. The team introduced the candles one by one.
The young people shared in their small groups their own experiences of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, allowing them to see a real link between their own life experience and the life of grace in Christ.
The next stage was creating drama presentations based on four gospel passages: Hope, in the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19 1-9; Peace in Matthew 26 49-52, where Jesus rejects violence at his arrest and heals Malchus’ ear; Joy in the parable of the lost sheep from Luke 15 1-10; and Love, in the parable of the prodigal son, from Luke Luke 15 11-32.
After free time and lunch we went to the chapel for an advent service where all the young people had an opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation or a blessing. Fr Roman used this prayer at the beginning of the period of Reconciliation:
You and I are sheep of our Good Shepherd.
You and I are like Zacchaeus and the Prodigal son because of our sinfulness.
You and I are like the disciples who didn’t always understand Jesus.
You and I are brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
You and I are in the one family of our beloved Father.
You and I are loved by merciful and compassionate Jesus.
You and I are responsible for this world, especially for those areas where we live.
You and I will be forgiven and united by Jesus because He is our HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE.
During the service, there were four prayer stations based on the advent candles.
At the Hope station, the young people reflected on their hopes and dreams for the future whilst holding a seed.
At the Peace station, they wrote prayers for peace and messages of hope for refugees while reflecting on the poignancy of the Lampedusa cross.
At the Joy station the young people reflected on the words of St Paul “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 They then had the opportunity to think of a joyful moment they wanted to be thankful for and write it down.
At the Love station, they got the opportunity to write intercessory prayers for their loved ones.
The retreat days concluded with the singing of the Savio House favourite, ‘My Lighthouse’
The Savio House team wishes you every blessing this Advent.