MYO Regional Retreat | St. Anthony Church, Glen Allen, VA
As they piled into their cars to return to Washington, Roanoke, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Fort Lauderdale, comments such as, “This was the best workshop ever!”, “I had so much fun!”, and the ever-present “Awesome!” were heard about the MYO Regional Workshop at Saint Anthony Church in Glen Allen, Virginia.
Approximately 90 participants, some for the first time, others who are “veterans” in the program—and one who had come as a member of the MYO, but now as a chaperone, arrived on Friday, March 15, for pizza, mjadra, salad, and ice-breaker activities under the direction of Seminarian Chris Nahra. On Saturday, Subdeacon Peter Zogbi gave two talks, one on Christian life in today’s world, and the other on our Maronite saints’ lives of holiness. Saturday also included games, free time, a Reconciliation service, and finally closed with a lively hafli.
An uplifting and inspirational spirit was present throughout the weekend that was organized by Mrs. Cathy George, Subdeacon Michael Maynes, and Ms. Carmen Dailey. Pastors should be proud of the young people who came. Activities such as this assure all of us that the Maronite Church will be in good hands.
MYO Midwest Regional Retreat
by Amanda Abi-Samra
St. Sharbel Maronite Church was honored to host the MYO Regional Retreat in their newly built parish in Clinton Township, Michigan. The weekend consisted of over one hundred youth and over thirty advisors as they embarked on a journey to experience The Passionate Pursuit of Joy. The retreat was filled with many fruitful activities leaving the kids renewed spiritually and stronger as a community. The youth would celebrate Liturgy together each day, partake of individual prayer including adoration and reconciliation, attend discussions by keynote speakers, bond socially through ice-breakers and engage in other exciting activities.
The retreat started late Friday afternoon with most parishes arriving from long trips, eager to greet each other. As one, the youth ate and socialized together. Then, they were introduced to this year's theme The Passionate Pursuit of Joy, followed by prayer. Over the next two nights, the youth stayed in hotel rooms with their friends where they grew closer and deepened their friendships. Saturday morning, they ate breakfast together and headed over to the church for Liturgy, spiritual discussion, and a heartfelt period of adoration. Afterwards, the youth enjoyed an exhilarating afternoon playing gym activities with each other. Later that day, they were taken back to the hotel in order to freshen up for the evening to come. Considerably the most charismatic gathering of the retreat is the hafli,which took place Saturday night, and is the grand finale of events. Here, the youth celebrated their faith and communion under Christ as one, enjoying a formal dinner lead by upbeat music and dancing. On Sunday morning the youth attended their last Liturgy together, followed by a brunch where they socialized one last time. The youth said their goodbyes exchanging hugs and tears of joy from such an amazing weekend spent together. Shortly after, parishes departed and the countdown till next year's Midwest Regional retreat began!