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We are like Mary – a masterpiece of creation in God’s hands

On Friday, November 29, 2019, a retreat began for the Vincentian Marian Youth in Kharkiv. It started with the Holy Mass at 18:00. During a sermon, the beginning of the retreat was announced and its theme was presented. After the Holy Mass and supper, the youth gathered together to discuss the main goals of the meeting. During that gathering, young people shared their expectations from the retreat and got to know the goal and theme of that youth meeting. The day ended with the adoration. There was a chance to make a confession, too.

The following day, November 30, 2019, began with the morning Holy Mass. As it was the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, in his sermon Fr. Yan Vakulchak, CM, revealed the standards of St. Andrew, who was a masterpiece of creation in God’s hands as well. So, we also must crave for such ideals so that our reverberations will fill the whole Earth.

After having breakfast, we started our activities, during which the youth had to present positive, negative and necessary values of the modern humankind. Thereafter, we pointed out the need for a human being to go through the formation inspired by God in order to reach perfection. Then, a presentation on the Miraculous Medal followed, explaining all main symbols seen on the Medal. The fact is the Miraculous Medal is a key symbol on a worldwide scale and plays a significant role in our community. In the afternoon, our leader – Monika Mmokwellu offered to our community a cut version of the presentation of courses of the International Center for Vincentian Formation (CIF) that had taken place in Lviv between November 4 and November 9, 2019. She talked about different branches of the Vincentian Family, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.

After a short break, we continued our retreat with work in groups, followed by a conference. Its topic was “Our life is a beautiful masterpiece in God’s hands”. The conference covered the topic of the creation of a human being. We made a close reading of the fragment from the Book of Genesis: “… then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground.” This verse shows us all sides of beauty of the creation of a human. In the evening, we recited the first Vespers with which we began the period of Advent. After supper, we watched a movie together – all participants adored it. That Saturday ended with sharing our impressions of the day with each other.

On the following day, which was Sunday 1, 2019, after breakfast Fr. Yan Vakulchak, CM, celebrated the Holy Mass. In his sermon, he talked about Advent and the way we should experience it. He also pointed out the things preparing us for Christmas. This is the blessed time we should use at the peak of our powers. This is a new liturgical year which means a new journey of the people of God with Jesus, our Shepherd, who conducts us through the history of salvation to the fulfillment of the Divine Kingdom. At the end of the Mass, we received a solemn blessing.

Our community thanks God for the grace, time and people sharing that retreat with us. We are also grateful to Him for everything we have experienced during the retreat.

By Mark Ofokha

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