SCJs lead youth retreat in Toronto

SCJs and UKI retreat participants

SCJs and UKI retreat participants

“In the end it was all grace!”

Fraters James Nguyen and Henry Nguyen were in Toronto in late May to take part in the annual youth and young adult retreat with Mudika UKI, the Indonesian Catholic community of Toronto.

Each wrote a brief reflection about his experience.

A game that teaches the importance of unity

A game that teaches the importance of unity

“I was once told by a dear friend, ‘Don’t fear, allow your heart to guide you to the unexpected while trusting the Divine Will’ and that’s what I did when I journeyed to Mudika May Retreat 2016 from Chicago,” wrote Henry.  “From my first cup of Tim Horton’s Ice Capps to meeting our confreres at the High Park community house, the openness and hospitality I received were truly a blessing.

“I had the opportunity to be reminded of God’s wonders at Humber Bay Park and Niagara Falls and how we are so little in this world.  Throughout the retreat weekend we were reminded ‘That they all may be one…’ where we reflected upon getting to know ourselves better and to unite with those around us.  ‘Not by chance, not by accident’ resonated with me for all three days because like Fr. Peter said, ‘Things we do that come in our lives happen for a reason.”

James leads a presentation

James leads a presentation

James wrote that “it was hard not to grieve at the end of the three-day retreat with the Indonesian Mudika UKI Toronto youth and young adults.  I was invited for a second time to speak at the annual gathering. This year’s theme was based on John 17:21, on unity.

“We laughed, cried, prayed, played and ate together.  The very place we stayed at, The Valley of the Mother of God in Orangeville, ON, belongs to our Coptic Orthodox sisters and brothers.  It began a dialogue of what it means to be a young Catholic today having friends who are not of the same religion or church.  Because I believe unity begins with oneself uniting with God, I talked to the group about the Enneagram then spoke about non-violent communication.

Fr. Peter McKenna talks to the retreatants

Fr. Peter McKenna talks to the retreatants

“It was a blessed weekend and even the weather cooperated. Right beside me was Henry Nguyen, who came along to help me with the retreat, and Fr. Peter McKenna and Fr. Yuliwan Maslim, who led Adoration, reconciliation and Mass.  I felt that at the same time that I was speaking about unity I was living it through the Priests of the Sacred Heart with my brothers who were right beside me.

“I am grateful to our confreres in Toronto who always graciously show me what it means to be hospitable and pastoral. I had a wonderful weekend with an awesome group of people. I grieve that it’s over, but am so grateful that it took place and I was a part of it.  We laughed, we lived, we dared and inhaled all that happened.

“In the end it was all grace!”

Fr. Peter McKenna leads an outdoor prayer service

Fr. Peter McKenna celebrates an outdoor Mass

 

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