“At the Crossroads”- Helping the Youth to Discern
The RYVM of the Bangalore Province has been animating the “At the Crossroads” event ever since 2017. It is an annual event that gathers young people to help them discern and make informed decisions about their career path or vocation in life. All this happens in an atmosphere of fun, facts, and fervent prayer.
Back after a Two-year Pandemic Break
At the Crossroads, 2022 was the first instalment of this workshop-cum-retreat for youth after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It took place on 28th, 29th and 30th April from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on each day.
A New Theme for a New Year
As in previous years, it was conducted at Nava Spoorthi Kendra (NSK), Bengaluru, India by Fr Sandeep Menezes, C.Ss.R. (RYVM Secretary, Province of Bangalore) and Fr. Peter B. C.Ss.R. (member of RYVM General Secretariat, Rome). The theme for the three days was “Know Your Self, Know Your Options and Know Your Purpose.”
Reaching Out to the Young Where They Are Found
Over 80 Catholic boys and girls aged between 16 to 29 years gathered together from neighbouring parishes and institutions such as Holy Ghost Church, Don Bosco Church, St. Joseph’s Church, St Jude’s Church, St. Charles Women’s Composite PU College, on the first day of the three-day event. They had come to know about this program either through an invite made to them through the social media or through personal invitations sent via the Catholic Institutions to which they belonged to.
Multi-Faceted Inputs By Redemptorists & Lay Resource Persons
The three days were packed with prayer, games, song and dance and helpful input sessions by inspiring resource persons. Some of the topics covered were “Vocation in the Bible and the Church” by Fr Joseph Royan C.Ss.R., “The Difference between a Career & a Vocation” by Fr Sandeep Menezes C.Ss.R., “Comprehensive Interests Survey” conducted by Mr Leenjith Jose, “Decision-making Skills” by Fr Peter Michael D’Souza C.Ss.R., “Dos & Don’ts of Career Management” again by Mr Leenjith Jose, “Personality Development” by Mrs Jennifer Pinto D’Souza, “Career Options” by Mr. Chris D’Souza, “Inward Journey” by Fr Peter B. CSsR., and “The Art of Spiritual Discernment” by Fr Sandeep Menezes, C.Ss.R.
The Source & the Summit of the Christian Life:
Every day’s programme ended with a Eucharistic celebration, to sum up, the day’s reflections and thank the Lord for the graces, knowledge and understanding obtained. The first day’s Mass was celebrated by Fr Louis Christopher C.Ss.R. (RYVM Chairperson). In his homily, he emphasized that each of the youth has a responsibility to discover their God-given gifts and talents and multiply them for the benefit of others in society and in the Church. On the following day, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Fr Peter B C.Ss.R. (Member of the RYVM General Secretariat, Rome) who expressed the Christian meaning of human life as a participation in God’s acts of labour, leisure and love during his reflection on the Word of God.
Finally, the concluding Mass was celebrated by Fr Siluvai Muthu (Vicar Provincial of Bangalore Province). He inspired the young to define their own path without comparing themselves negatively with respect to others.
Testimonies of Varieties of Vocations in the Church:
On the final day, the youth had the opportunity to listen to the testimonies of a Catholic priest (Fr Johnson Jebanesar, C.Ss.R.), two religious Sisters (Sr. Viva and Sr. Romila from the Holy Cross Congregation), a married couple from the Focolare Movement (Amit and Ester Antony), and a single woman (Wendy Dickson). This gave the participants an opportunity to see the beauty and the challenge of each of the vocations available to them in the Church.
The Impact of Attending “At the Crossroads” by a Young Person
These three days “At the Crossroads” seem to have made a profound impact on many participants. Three high school boys have indicated that they are discerning a vocation to priesthood and one girl expressed a desire to join religious life. Another one of the youth wrote in the feedback form:
“I learned that youth can play a major role in spreading the Good News of the Lord. I liked how everyone was welcomed with love and how the Fathers and the Sisters and everyone made sure we were being involved. This retreat was so different from all the retreats that I’ve attended before. I felt wanted, I felt loved, I had so much fun meeting new people, new friendships. And I genuinely felt closer to God, and through this retreat, I’ve decided to work as much as possible for the people and show them the beauty of Jesus and his works through my service to the people…I felt like the retreat could have been for a little longer time, say a week ‘coz (sic) I was really sad for it to end. I would take up any opportunities or any kind of responsibility for events conducted by RYVM. I would love to volunteer and cooperate and work for the good of the people”
Hearts Filled with Gratitude:
We, at RYVM, express heartfelt gratitude to God for the blessings received, to all the resource persons for their valuable knowledge and inspiration shared, to Fr Edward Joseph C.Ss.R. (the Provincial of the Bangalore Province) and Fr Louis Christopher C.Ss.R. (Chairperson of RYVM Bangalore) for their support and encouragement, and to Fr Arulanandam C.Ss.R. and Fr Gerald Solomon C.Ss.R. for making the venue available to us and for all the logistical support at the venue. We also appreciate very much the help of the newly ordained Fathers who covered the event on behalf of the Redemptorist Media Center and the Holy Cross Sisters for help in the registration, animation of the youth, and liturgical arrangements.
Just like the Risen Redeemer did with his confused disciples on the way to Emmaus, He continues to accompany the young to Encounter, Recognise, Interpret, and Decide His plan for their lives. We, at RYVM Bangalore, have found that in the processes of animating youth ‘at the Crossroads’ of life, each in their own way, will be inspired to become a young witness to Christ the Redeemer in the wounded world.
Fr Sandeep Menezes, C.Ss.R.
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