On Saturday February 18, 2012, St. Joseph Chaldean Youth Group arranged a trip and Spiritual Retreat to St. George Chaldean Monastery in Riverside, for the Chaldean youth of St. Michael Chaldean Catholic Church to prepare our souls for the season of Sawma (Lent). Forty Five Chaldean youth attended the retreat. The youth all gathered at 7:00am at St. Michael Church. The bus left the church at 8:00am and arrived at the monastery at 10:00am.
The retreat included the following activities:
- Many spiritual hymns were sung during the bus ride on the way to the monastery in addition to many other Chaldean songs and poetry.
- Breakfast at the monastery: all the youth brought food with them and participated in a meal sharing all the Chaldean food together as one family.
- Talk by Father Peter Lawrence on, “How to listen to the voice of God in our lives,” followed by discussion and questions and answers.
- Walk in the mountain with the Lord Jesus while reciting and meditating on the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary led and preached by Deacon Keith Esshaki. When we reached the top of the mountain we all knelt in adoration of God as we admired the beauty of creation, and surrendered our lives to the Lord with a sincere intention to abandon all our sins.
- Chaldean folkdance and songs on top of the mountain.
- Lunch, birthday celebration and more Chaldean folkdance.
- Blessings and Wishes activity led by Nivian Eliya. Everyone wrote all the blessings that they received in their lives for the last year and what do they still want to accomplish this year then we all presented it to the group and had a great time doing it. This was a very beautiful activity that brought the group spiritually closer together as members of the same body of Christ.
- Throughout the day Father Peter Lawrence heard confessions and provided Spiritual Direction to all the youth.
- The youth left the monastery at 5PM. On the bus ride back, the youth sang many Chaldean spiritual hymns.
- Also during the ride back Deacon Keith Esshaki gave a talk on the season of Sawma and encouraged the youth to take their fasting very seriously on the way to holiness.
Many thanks to our dear sister Nivian Eliya for her initiative, leadership and hard work to make the retreat a reality. Also two of our leaders Revan Qajar and Samer Shamasha worked tirelessly with Nivian for many days to plan the agenda and make all the arrangement for the retreat.
The Chaldean Youth of St. Michael Chaldean Church are all very thankful to our Leader and Bishop His Excellency Mar Sarhad Jammo for sacrificing so much to give us the beautiful monastery and retreat house of St. George to provide a place for retreats to worship the Lord and grow in faith and appreciate our Chaldean cultural and national heritage
Thank you Mar Sarhad. We love you and need you to continue to encourage us to be proud of both our Christian Catholic faith and our Chaldean national heritage.