During the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving (October 12-14), Fr. Albertus Joni, SCJ, assisted with the Indonesian Youth Retreat in Vancouver. He shares a bit about it below:
Vancouver has been mentioned so many times by magazines and newspapers as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I truly enjoyed the interior of her modern airport with all the displays of various totems and indigenous sculptures. Out of the terminal building, the scenery is even more outstanding: lines of hills and mountains surround the skyscrapers, the sparkling clean rivers and the vast ocean embrace the concrete structures. Nothing can beat the beautiful stacks of houses built on cliffs along the sea. Autumn has changed the color of trees, and they add more beauty to this natural canvas of Vancouver. It feels surreal. It is so beautiful.
Vancouver, with all its beauty, is a city that is very liveable compared to some other big cities in Europe or the United States. Maybe this is the reason why it attracts so many international students. Vancouver has more than 300 Catholic Indonesian students who are admitted to the University of British Columbia (UCB) and Simon Fraser University (SFU).
I was invited as a guest speaker for a three-day retreat with the Indonesian students of Vancouver (Mudika).
About 70 students took part in this retreat. I am very thankful for the many blessings poured out by the Heart of Jesus to these fine young men and women. Some of them gave testimony on how God led them to understand the meaning of suffering in their lives. One shared the grace of healing from seizures due to traumatic experiences in the past. There were stories of people hearing God speak personally in their hearts, helping them to turn away from superficial lives that were without meaning.
As I witnessed so many touching testimonies, I was reminded of Matthew 19:16-22, where Jesus was asked by one young man: “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus ended the conversation by asking the young man to follow Him.
I believe that every retreat is a process of questioning and finding the answer about this “eternal life.” The retreat called on youth to continue to live the commitment to follow Jesus more closely in joy and contemplation.