St Paul inspires landmark Bunbury youth event

06 May 2009

By The Record

‘The message of the cross, for those of us on the path to salvation, is the power of God.’
-1 Corinthians 1:18.

Over 20 youth from parishes as far as Manjimup, Mt Barker, Narrogin and Katanning and others scattered throughout the south-west of WA took the Year of St Paul announced by Pope Benedict XVI personally.
They used the evangelist’s words to draw deeper into the Easter mystery at a special retreat on April 4-5 to prepare for Holy Week.
Participant John Paul Collins told The Record that the retreat revealed how St Paul illustrates that by focusing on the Cross, today’s youth can see more clearly how God can work in their lives. 
“The actions of Jesus over 2000 years ago are still so relevant to young Christians today as they were back then,” John Paul said upon reflection on Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. “The Cross is a proud reminder of the triumph of Christ’s resurrection and is a beacon to help guide us in our lives if we ever get off track.”
The retreat was an initiative of the interim Diocese Youth Council, which advises the Diocese on the direction of its youth ministry and features two representatives from each of the three deaneries within the diocese – Lower South West, South West and Great Southern.
The young people reflected on the power of the Cross, through participation in a liturgy, preparing a ‘Stations of the Cross’, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Reconciliation.
A session in the afternoon prompted each participant to reflect on what Holy Week meant for them in their personal lives, which Mr Collins said was a powerful sharing of faith in the lead-up to the Easter Triduum. 
“It was thought-provoking for all of us – to learn how others had also been preparing for Holy Week and look for ways to improve the preparation in our own lives,” he said.
“It re-affirmed the need for fasting and almsgiving and helped put the reasons behind it into context. 
“With Easter only a week away it also was great to strengthen our resolve in our personal fasting in the lead-up to the Easter Triduum.  A common theme was the importance of fasting and almsgiving during the period of Lent in the preparation for Holy Week.”
After attending Mass for Palm Sunday, participants in the retreat gathered at St Mary’s parish after the 9.30am Mass for solidarity with the parishioners then participated in the Stations of the Cross that had been prepared earlier.
“Participating in the Stations of the Cross was a reminder to us of the suffering that Jesus endured for mankind as he carried the burden of our sins,” Mr Collins said. 
“Witnessing the Stations of the Cross at WYD08 gave all of us a new appreciation of the suffering of Jesus and what was endured for the redemption of mankind and participating in our Stations of the Cross Liturgy had extra significance for all of us.”
For more information on youth ministry in the Bunbury Diocese contact Sue Barton on 08 9721 0500.