Put out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch. (Luke 5:4) This was the theme for the Discovery Camp that took place in MAJODI Centre, Plentong from the 4th – 7th of February 2012. This camp was organised by the Melaka-Johor Diocese Youth & Campus Ministry in collaboration with the Vocations Promotion, for youths aged 17 and above to prepare them to enter college or working life. Whilst in past years, this (Self-)-Discovery camp was one week long, due to constraints, it was shortened to 4 days. 16 youths were pioneers in this revamped version of the camp, which was only offered in English, as the organisers were testing out the suitability of the material for this age group.
After a light and easy round of icebreakers, the program started off with the celebration of the Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing SJ, the local Bishop of the Diocese. The prelate preached on suffering and its meaning for us today. This was followed by a BBQ dinner which helped the participants bond very well.
The next day Deacon Adrian Ng, one of the many speakers, introduced the Ignatian Contemplative Prayer to the group in the first session; the participants had a chance to try out the Fantasy Prayer using one of the Gospel accounts. Said Alex Chew from St Teresa’s Melaka, ‘This prayer style helps me to experience God so… I will continue to use this form of prayer’.
This camp also introduced Joseph Uvarajah, who was very engaging in his session, Discovering myself and Sharing & Listening. Many participants found these two sessions to be very enriching in knowing themselves and building better relationship skills. ‘I really felt comfortable sharing as if my burdens had been lifted up. I have never shared so much of myself before’, said one participant. As the second day drew to a close, the participants watched a movie on St Francis & Clare after which, Fr. Arul, a Franciscan explained further on the developments within the order.
On the third day of the camp, participants were treated by an engaging and informative session on Faith and Fact by Fr. Edward Rayappan, the Vocation Director of the Diocese. The humorous session helped all the participants to clear up doubts about the faith.
In the afternoon, Deacon Adrian oriented the group towards evangelization. One participant said: ‘I learnt how to speak to my non-Christian friends about my faith’ Later that day, the participants were brought by Bro Anthony Das to an Orang Asli settlement called Kampung Simpang Arang at Gelang Patah. Though the trip was cut short due to heavy rain, participants appreciated the opportunity to understand the situation of the Orang Asli in detail.
After dinner, we were led into Eucharistic Adoration with the sacrament of reconciliation made available. Late at night, Deacon Adrian led the participants in the Seder Meal to appreciate this precursor to our Christian liturgy and the Last Supper. In this camp, it was an invitation to mark the passing over to a new chapter in the participants’ lives.
On the last day of our camp, we were privileged to have Fr. Norris Seenivasan SJ who shared St Ignatius’ methods of discerning God’s will for our lives. In the last session, Deacon Adrian introduced St John of the Cross and the next step in the spiritual journey. The camp ended with Mass at which Deacon Adrian introduced the last figure: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassetti. This young man, held up as a role model by the late great John Paul 2, relished the adventurous life but also gave himself in service to others. Just like all the other saints who were introduced over the 4 days, he broke stereotype of saints, and in doing so offered new ways of being holy by being ourselves.