Highlights -- Maronite Youth Workshop 2010

By Therese Touma

Heroes…who are our Heroes? Who do we look up to? What good qualities can I imitate in them and put into practice in my own life? What can I take back and implement in our Maronite Youth group to make a positive difference in our parish community?

These were some of the many questions that were discussed in the interactive workshops. We watched inspiring videos and reflected on the lives of different people from our everyday life, such as Mother Teresa who worked with the poor and destitute, and the pilot named Scully who skillfully landed the plane that crashed on the Hudson River- without losing the life of a single person on board.

Still today, many courageous men and women are generously making a significant difference in hospitals, in their families, on the streets and in various missions by their ongoing dedication, sacrificial love and passion to serve those who are needy and alone. “Heroes” sure stand out in the world, as they bring hope, love and joy into the lives of many people.

Overall, the workshops provided an opportunity for the teens to stop and sincerely examine their own lives, those in their community, who are poor and unloved, and the people they look up to in their own lives for inspiration and direction. Great discussions took place in and between the groups, as teens shared about their own group created superhero. Let us all always have before our eyes, the Ultimate Hero, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who loved us to the point of giving us His own life, so that we may have eternal life.

Eucharistic Adoration
Every day, Father Gary George, director of the Youth Workshop led the teens in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He beautifully explained and showed us in prayer how the Eucharist defines who we are as Maronites. He encouraged the teens to continue to make time in their parish to cultivate a great love and worship for the Eucharist, Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity exposed on the altar, and to share the grace and beauty of the Mystery (Sacrament) with their families and friends.

Mission Service- Mercy, Compassion, Reconciliation
In the beginning of the Mission Service session, the teens were asked to take and hold onto a dirty rock symbolizing the sin and burden they carry in their lives. While the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, our Bishops and ten Maronite priests were hearing confessions, and after the teens had been absolved, they were asked to place their dirty rock at the foot of the altar along with their written prayer intention, and then get their hands washed from the dirt. This was a powerful visual and symbolic action of being cleansed from sin in the Mystery of Penance.
As one of the helpers washing the hands of the teens, I was moved by the healing power of Christ’s mercy in this beautiful Mystery.

Sports & Recreation
Basketball was the competitive and popular sport that the teens were playing for recreation throughout the week. It was great to get out there with girls on the court and enjoy the youth’s presence, energy and talents! See photo collage for the girls’ basketball team.
On the last day, the teens enjoyed a refreshing day out at Idlewild, Water Park.