Charis Malaysia youth conference 2023

Charis Malaysia youth conference 2023

By John Luke Joeshua 

The inaugural CHARIS Malaysia Youth Conference 2023 left a profound impact on the hearts and minds of its young participants who aimed to establish a nationwide communion of Charis Youth Leaders, living life in the Spirit and training others to do the same.

With the theme Personal Holiness, this four-day event, held at the iconic Minor Basilica of St Anne from June 29 to July 2, brought together a diverse group of young people seeking spiritual growth and served as a transformative experience for all participants.

This event was led by Paul Julianose and his CHARIS Youth organising team.

The conference commenced with a welcome Mass celebrated by Msgr Henry Rajoo.

He emphasised the significance of coming together as a community of faithful believers.

In his closing remarks, he highlighted the phrase, “It is good to be here,” which set the tone for the days to come, acknowledging the importance of being present and open to the transformative power of God’s love.

Participants were then split into two main language groups, English and Mandarin, to facilitate deeper engagement. In the English segment, Charles Lim delivered a powerful keynote address, reminding the attendees that holiness is not solely an individual effort.

Through his inspiring words, he emphasised the importance of unity and support in the journey toward personal holiness. Simultaneously, the Mandarin segment enjoyed a keynote address by Fr Simon Lau, who delivered a thought-provoking address, encouraging participants to understand their purpose and calling in life, offering unique insights into the pursuit of holiness.

The second day focused on the theme Being set Apart. Fr Simon celebrated Mass and shared an enlightening message on the transformative power of saying “yes” to God. He said, when we surrender ourselves to the divine will, our lives are turned ‘downside- up’, leading to a deep experience of God’s grace.

Throughout the day, participants engaged in four sessions that explored various aspects of personal holiness: Identity, Called to Sainthood, Called to Repentance and Purity, and To Be Healed for More. These sessions, led by Derek Chong and Anthony Lim in the English segment, provided practical insights on living out one’s calling and allowing God to heal broken areas to fully experience the life of grace. Similarly, Mandarin speakers Mark Ng, Michael Yap, and Fr Simon emphasised the importance of embracing God’s call and expounded on these essential aspects of personal holiness.

The third day centred on Being on a Mission. Fr Louis Loi presided over Mass, infusing the day with spiritual energy. Three impactful sessions, including Road to Emmaus, Conversation in the Spirit, and Baptism of Fire, were held to deepen the understanding of the participants’ mission in the world. The highlight of the day was the Worship with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the evening. It provided an opportunity for the attendees to enter into deep communion with God, reinforcing their commitment to live out their mission with passion and zeal.

The final day saw two sessions titled Our Reality Now and Our Response Today. These sessions invited participants to reflect on the challenges faced in today’s world and explore practical ways to respond to these challenges through personal holiness and active engagement.

As the conference drew to a close, participants shared their testimonies, revealing how the event impacted and transformed their lives. Eager to continue their spiritual journey beyond the conference, many were inspired to join various ministries in their respective parishes. The profound impact and transformative experiences shared by these young individuals served as a testament to the success of the conference.

The conference concluded with a Commissioning Mass celebrated by Bishop Sebastian Francis, who imparted a heartfelt blessing upon the youth, sending them forth to make a positive difference in their communities. This momentous occasion marked the beginning of a new chapter for the young participants as they were sent forth with renewed zeal, equipped to embrace personal holiness and lead others on the path of spiritual growth.