I was asked to facilitate a retreat for 73 high school students from the Sacred Heart Cathedral parish in Suva. It was a great experience for me. I had the support of our two senior students, Paul and Elia, who helped in the sessions, too.
It was a weekend at the beginning of August when we travelled to the Vincentian parish of Natovi, where we had this final retreat for the confirmandees before they received the Sacrament of Confirmation in October.
The theme of our retreat, “Come, Holy Spirit”, centred on the love of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Students gather together in a group discussion - Photo: Fr Willie Lee
We had group work and presentations. There were seven groups with ten in each group, girls and boys evenly distributed. The group work and presentations reminded us of the great gifts and talents and the creativity each student has. Bonding was part of the group work to help them get to know each other well and be able to continue the great work of God and mission together into the future.
We had moments of prayer together and quietness. The Eucharist each day reminded us of the presence of God in our lives and that we always need God in whatever we do. It was those precious moments in between our sessions on the Holy Spirit. The end of the day was centred on the Adoration for an hour with silence and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, given by Fr Finn, a retired Vincentian aged 90, and the parish priest, Fr Vilimone, also a Vincentian.
The light and life of the world - Photo: Fr Willie Lee
On the last day, we had a session on how we can reap the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. It was a moment for the students to reflect and see what gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit they want to reap for themselves, their families, their schools, their parishes and their community - fruits that will bring goodness and life to themselves and others.
We ended our retreat on the hills with the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, symbolising the light and life of the world. What a gracious moment to end our retreat! In that moment and on that weekend retreat we also saw new, creative insights from the students in sharing, listening and dialogue with one another. It was a graceful moment.
Fr William Lee is the Vocations Coordinator in Fiji.
- Read more from the current e-Kaulotu - October 2023