By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh, MSCL
Sr. Therese Maria and myself returned this week from the National MYA Workshop, which was held in San Antonio, Texas from October 4-6, and gathered over 80 young adults from across the country. This year’s Workshop took place at an excellent retreat center, T Bar M, surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature.
We were blessed with the presence of both Bishops, Bishop Gregory Mansour from the Eparchy of St. Maron and Bishop Elias Zaidan from the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, Los Angeles.
The theme for this year’s Workshop was “Leading by Example” and all the speakers touched upon the importance of having a servant-leadership heart following the example of Christ.
We were honored to have a guest speaker, Mr. Joe Farris, a vibrant and authentic national Catholic speaker, from Cincinnati, Ohio. Joe’s message was a powerful one of how he encountered Christ in his life, and how we can encounter Christ in our lives.
By the end of Joe’s first talk in the morning, he had me in tears, and many of the young adults were moved by his powerful personal testimony; his radical love for Christ; and how he was able to faithfully proclaim that Christ had never failed him in his life.
With the presence of both bishops among us for the whole weekend, including a number of clergy, we experienced the wonderful power of prayer and grace in the Divine Liturgies celebrated, in Eucharistic adoration and prayer, and in confession.
On a personal note, I have been to many MYA Workshops, but this one was the very best that I have attended. I truly felt that Jesus was so powerfully present among us, and that the young adults were serious about encountering the Lord, and they did. They came with open hearts and Christ did not disappoint.
During our small group sessions, the young adults opened up beautifully about their worries, doubts, fears, restlessness and yearnings. I was deeply moved by this.
I heard great feedback from a number of young adults who said that they greatly appreciated the new format of the Workshop, that is, of having it in a retreat setting rather than a hotel as in times past. They said they appreciated the down time and getting away from the constant busyness of their everyday lives to be with the Lord and with one another. Great friendships were established and strong bonds were forged. Praise God!
A big thankyou to Fr. Tony Massad, Sr. Therese Maria and the entire MYA Board for putting together this truly wonderful event.