Diocesan Youth Renewal – Youth Testimonies

 In YM Reflections

Two weeks ago, the Diocese offered a youth retreat for high school and middle school youth. The retreat was a much needed avenue for the youth to renew their faith, especially with everything that has been going on for the past year and a half. There were a few Holy Spirit youth who attended. The following are their testimonies on their time at the retreat. 

Bethany Tate – High School DYR
When I first arrived at DYR, I was nervous because I knew I wouldn’t know anyone there.  After I had checked in, I sat down with some people I didn’t know while we waited for everyone else to arrive. Before I knew it, I had made new friends and didn’t feel an ounce of nervousness. As the first day continued, I met more and more people while we sang our hearts out in praise and worship. In the second day of the retreat, I really learned a lot about myself. I learned that sometimes it’s ok to let go and just go do it. Whatever it is. Our “Water/Messy Games” was when I discovered this. Towards the end of the day, we all gathered in the Church and for Adoration. Typically, I’m not a super emotional person, but during this time I was really exposed by the Lord. All of my emotions rose to the surface and really showed me what a little bit of time in the presence of our Lord can do for a person. Normally 5, this DYR was only 2 days but was so eye opening to me and such a fun experience that I can’t imagine what 5 days would be like. I have gained so much from this retreat like new friends, fun memories, and the realization of how powerful the Lord really is. I can’t wait to go to DYR next year! 

Danielle Paredes – Middle School DYR
This was my first time attending MSDYR. The theme of the retreat was “renewal.” I didn’t truly understand what that meant until I did a prayer exercise with my small group. 

 The exercise was to say something you want to let go of in order to be renewed. It seemed a bit scary to me. Although, as youth in my group said what they wanted to let go of, I felt more comfortable. I knew my group would not judge me. 

There was one boy who was very talkative and funny. He told us something very devastating and he wanted to let go of his grief for it. I was amazed that he trusted us with something this personal! It showed that he knew talking to us was like talking to God!

After I shared what I wanted to let go of, my group prayed over me. I felt renewed: once again God was with and within me, taking away what I wanted to let go of. It didn’t matter that God was taking away a sin. God still comforted me through the prayers of my group mates.

I will never forget that experience. Our small group had a connection from that prayer exercise. We had just met but sharing personal thoughts and experiences made us a family. 

The prayer exercise strengthened my connection with God. I feel relieved and grateful now that God will always be there for me. Ever since the retreat, I’ve made extra effort to pray to God. Not just before meals, but when I have free time. When I used to pray, it almost felt like a duty. Now, I want to do it so I can have a conversation with God.

 I really enjoyed MSDYR. Middle schoolers and high schoolers, I think you should go to DYR. If one day and a half can have an impact on me, imagine what a whole week can do to you!


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