Faith, Justice, Do-It-Yourself

Eugenia Lui, a young adult who attended our Easter season retreat, writes about her experience:

As a Catholic who recently went back to church after an absence for more than 10 years, I was looking for something significant to 'jump start' my faith again, so when I saw the Faith Connections' retreat being advertised, I signed up for it right away. I was quite nervous as I was attending myself and I've never been to anything religious outside of regular Sunday mass before. However, I felt at home the moment I walked into the Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre where the retreat was held on Saturday, April 22nd, which was coincidentally Earth Day.

The retreat leaders were Father Bob Holmes CSB of the Christian Peacemaker Teams and Peter from the Student Christian Movement of Canada. It was organized by Faith Connection's brand-new Program Director, Kataryna. Kataryna was incredibly friendly and warm and did a fantastic job with making us feel comfortable and excited about the day's activities. In fact, she seemed so comfortable in the role that I was surprised it was only her 3rd week on the job!

We began the day with a Reflection that included a reading between Father Bob and Kataryna of phrases related to the headlines in the recent news contrasted with phrases based on the Gospel (John Dear's Beatitudes of Peace). It showed that what is going on in the world often does not correspond with what Jesus preached. We were then treated to an interesting presentation by Father Bob on what it means to become "Resurrection Disciples". It was interesting because he showed us how the Gospel's teachings can be applied to social justice activities in our current era.

By lunch time we were (or at least I was) quite hungry from all the discussion and we eagerly dug into pizza, veggies, fruit, chips and delicious Easter-themed cookies and muffins. We had some time to get to know each other better and I found that we were quite a diverse group but everyone was quite enthusiastic about their faith.

After lunch we had a session about peace and "active non-violence" led by both Father Bob and Peter in which we discussed what was considered violent and non-violent. We also had a mini training session about how to act peacefully in a conflict situation; an environment the Christian Peacemaker Teams are often in. I found this my favourite part of the day because it was thought-provoking and movement-based. Sister Mechtilde of the St. Joseph Sisters also joined in occasionally and she was pretty funny and insightful.

After some quiet journaling and reflection time, we gathered in the outdoor garden for our last session which was led by Robin. This activity took on extra significance because it was Earth Day and the soil we held in our hands during the activity reminded us how fragile and important Earth is. It was on this serious note that we ended the day with a prayer and said our goodbyes.

It was an emotionally tiring day, but I'm glad I went because it recharged my faith and made me think about how I can become more of a "Resurrection Disciple" in my daily life. Looking forward to attending more Faith Connections events in the future!