Johannesburg (South Africa).  On 20 February  2021, the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of Johannesburg experienced the Lenten retreat at the Parish of All Saints in Ennerdale, on the theme: ‘Hope’.

The retreat was attended by 25 young people from two Salesian parishes and a diocesan parish; Sister Maria Nguyen, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of  “Bl. Laura Vicuña”  of Johannesburg Province of O. L. of Peace of South Africa (AFM),  four Salesians of Don Bosco, and one Salesian Cooperator. The day began with a talk on  Strenna 2021 by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Moved by hope: “Behold, I am making all things new” (Ap 21:5)  and group sharing. Following this there was a time of Eucharistic Adoration led by Sister Maria Nguyen, based on the Message of Pope Francis for Lent 2021: “Let us go up to Jerusalem…” (Mt 20:18). Lent: Time to renew faith, hope, and love, with the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The culminating moment of the retreat was the Eucharistic Celebration, concelebrated by Fr. Vincent Hoang and Fr. Lingoale Tlaile. In his homily, Fr. Hoang invited the young people to look deep into their hearts to see what causes darkness and must be left aside during Lent, to strengthen themselves in the courage to follow Jesus who is the Light.

The afternoon was animated in Salesian style  with a themed treasure hunt prepared by Mr. Clarence Watts, Salesian Cooperator, and by two young people. After finding the treasure, each received a message, which was read and shared with the others. A young boy expressed his joy for the retreat day: “Today is a significant day for me. The theme of the Strenna and the Message of Pope Francis brought me back to hope, in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. From now on I will live with hope, because Jesus is here. He is making all things new”.


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