NZ Passionist Youth Retreat was held 13th – 16th July 2015 at Camp Rangi Wood, Pohangina Valley, Manawatu.
Thanks to the Passionists Holy Spirit Province for their support in making it possible in March for Tim McDade (Passionist Young adults retreat presenter from Brisbane and joint Brisbane team leader with his wife Jo) to spent a weekend in Palmerston North.
Tim met and introduced 6 young kiwi adults interested in facilitating Passionist Youth Retreats in NZ to the Passionist retreat style and charism.
It was this team that put together the sessions and presented at the Passionist Youth Retreat.
The ongoing support from Tim and Jo through Skype communication was invaluable while the NZ team prepared for the retreat.
Fr Ray Sanchez CP from Brisbane was present throughout the retreat in support and to celebrate the Mass.
The NZ team can be very proud of their efforts in presenting, their example shown supporting one another, being open to the possibilities and allowing themselves to be vulnerable in the process.
All sessions were very well received by the youth who attended.
Finbarr and Sinead share their thoughts:
Passionist youth retreat 2015 was another wonderful camp by Paul and Linda. Held over three days at camp Rangi woods, Pohangina, it was a great opportunity to meet with other young Christians from around the lower north island and have a he chance to grow in my faith. Everyone present was encouraging and welcoming and we had some good times together. All the talks from Fr Ray and the other leaders were relevant and interesting and the games we played were all fun and team building and pertaining to the sessions. On our final night Fr Ray lead a lovely closing mass, which everyone participated in. Thanks especially to the cooks, Mary-Ellen and Norma, for their wonderful cooking during camp. They did a great job as always and helped make the experience so good.
“Wow” is the only way to describe it. Where else in the world can you enter a room full of random teenagers and within the next 10 minutes feel totally comfortable, accepted and most importantly loved. Being surrounded by this 4 day cushion of inclusiveness, kindness, and inspiration from retreat goers and leaders really heals all wounds spiritually and mentally and is the best place to grow and learn to accept not only your own unique beauty but accept the uniqueness and beauty of everyone else.
This was my 3rd Passionist youth retreat and every time I’ve learned things about myself I otherwise wouldn’t have. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be the happy, accepting person I am today without retreat. I would recommend to absolutely anyone from year 9-13 regardless of where they are in their faith journey. The great thing about retreat is it meets you where you’re at and gives you plenty of opportunity to simply be listened to, something missing in today’s everyday society. So if you’re looking for acceptance and new perceptions for yourself, this is the place to be.
It’s be awesome to see more people being able to experience what I’ve experienced so I encourage everyone to tell anyone and everyone- hope to see you there.