St John's Q&A

Thursday, September 22, 2005

White water rafting retreat

Holy Hour for Vocations: Friday, Sept. 30, 6:30-7:30 pm, St John's Church. All are invited to spend an hour in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Please join us!
FROM BROTHER GREG (column in this week's bulletin)

Back in August, I went with the youth group and adult leaders on the white water rafting retreat. Great time! We camped for two nights, thanks to the great efforts of Skip and Diane Jones and all the adults. The first night we were there, we had a great discussion about faith in Christ relevant to the youths’ lives. Then, we hit the rapids the next day and had a blast! However, what happened that night at the campsite was something I will never forget.

I led a discussion on the Eucharist with the 25 teens and 10 adults. I presented the scene in John 6 where Jesus teaches thousands of people that “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (v.51),“whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life (v.53), and “my flesh is true food, my blood is true drink” (v.55). The huge crowd hears Jesus speaking literally, and all of them (except the Apostles) reject Jesus’ teaching and leave. They had followed Him all this time, and then they left Him when they heard Him teach about the Eucharist.

The teens were very interested and attentive as we discussed the amazing aspects of the Eucharist. One issue that arose was receiving the Eucharist in a state of Grace. We talked about how we as Catholics need to be clean and pure and free from mortal sin in order to receive the flesh of Christ in our bodies and souls at Mass. That led to a discussion on sin, mainly highlighting the differences between mortal and venial sin. We discussed the three things that make a sin mortal: 1) grave matter - it’s seriously wrong, 2) full knowledge -I know it’s wrong, 3) full consent -I freely choose to do it.

Mortal (which means “death”) sin cuts us off from God completely; it brings darkness to our souls. Confession is primarily for the forgiveness of mortal sins; if we know or have any question that we’ve committed a mortal sin, we need to go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion.

We discussed this for about an hour; the teens were unbelievably attentive the whole time, and asked many questions throughout. I left two brochures for them to read, if they were interested:
1)“The Eucharist and You” (written by yours truly)
2) “A Guide to Confession

Not only did they devour all of the brochures I left out for them, they read them and talked about them for a while afterwards! They were very happy and appreciative to be informed. Anyone who is interested in reading these brochures can pick them up in the rear of the Church, or ask me for additional copies.

A footnote to the retreat: I received an email from a mother after the retreat. She explained how she really struggled to get her son to go to Church before the retreat. The first thing he said when he came home is that he wanted to go to Confession, and to go regularly to Mass! Awesome stuff! Thank you, Jesus, all of the great adults, and amazing youth!!


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