I found out about the SYA Weekend reading its simple and straightforward announcement on the parish bulletin board 11 years ago. Back then, my relationship with God was through daily prayer & meditation, and attending Mass. I believe I was quite happy then, with my friends and my job. However, I couldn’t say I was happy with my relationship with God. I was wondering if I could attend not just Mass but also Church activities with people I could relate with. So I wanted to attend SYA. Unfortunately, I couldn’t because of scheduling conflicts. It took me 4 more years before I attended. I went to the retreat by myself, looking to reflect on how I could possibly get a better sense of direction in my life as a Catholic.
I’m an introvert, so it took me some time to warm up to strangers. But I felt very welcome and unjudged. I enjoyed the weekend and had many realizations, especially on how I could become a better Catholic. I attended the activities immediately after and still felt very welcome; it was as if I joined one big family.
Seven years have passed, and I still attend the SYA activities. I have become more vocal about my faith, wanting to attend Mass more and pray more. Attending and helping with activities of our Church ministries such as Luke 18, prison and hospital ministries, among others, have made me realize the power of service as a prayer. I have met people here who are good role models, in the way they live their life and with their faith. They are not just friends, they are like family to me. SYA is my faith family, and I have found my joy with them.