We must always be working to equip our soul for battle, said Fr. Hansoo Park. Photo courtesy of Catalyst Training Systems

Retreat will be a workout for body and soul

  • April 17, 2015

It’s not just our bodies that need a workout, our souls need training too.

That’s what St. Paschal Baylon Church’s young adult ministry will be doing this year for its annual retreat April 25-26.

For its fourth annual CONSULO retreat, this year’s theme was drawn from 1 Corinthians 9:25 where St. Paul writes, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last. We do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

The retreat theme will explore the concept and discipline of physical training and applying the same principles when striving for spiritual growth.

“As much as athletes go into strict training when competing for upcoming events, so too we must train ourselves in relation to walking our faith,” said Marvin Esquivel, a CORE leader with St. Paschal’s young adult ministry. “Especially with a friend opening up his own fitness gym which many of our young adults are a part of, we felt that making that correlation to our faith was something we wanted to highlight.”
Esquivel said that the young adult ministry is hoping that this will inspire young adults to go from complacency to action.

Catalyst Training Systems (CTS) was the brain child of St. Paschal’s young adults members Sean Sinnapan and Ace Casiano. They started their training practice in 2013 with their friends in the youth group. In January 2014, they were able to open their own gym in North York.

Daniel Agbuis, a member at CTS, said the group hopes that incorporating the analogy of fitness training will make the teachings of the retreat more accessible.

“I think a lot of us have experience in the gym and working out and being active,” said Agbuis. “I think that for us, it’ll make it easier for them to understand and apply it to their life. In the same way that we train and get stronger, we have to train our spirit to be more holy.”

Agbuis, who is also a member of the retreat committee, said the ministry has extended invites to chaplaincies across the Greater Toronto Area, including Ryerson Catholics, the Newman Centre, Catholic Chaplaincy at York, University of Toronto-Scarborough chaplaincy and St. Thomas More parish.

“Initially, our goal was just to collaborate with St. Barnabas (parish), but word started to spread really quickly,” said Agbuis. “I think that the great thing about networking in the Catholic community is that they’re open to any invitation and that’s what makes sharing events a lot easier.”

Fr. Hansoo Park, pastor of St. Barnabas parish in Scarborough, will be leading the catechism sessions of the retreat. The St. Barnabas parish’s young adult ministry will also be collaborating with St. Paschal’s in running the retreat weekend.

Park said that for this particular retreat, it is important to give the participants something substantial during the retreat’s catechism sessions.

He said that because it is an overnight retreat, a lot of things will have to be focused in a short period of time. However, he said he is confident that participants will be able to walk away with something new.

“It’s really about our universal call to holiness and the proper understanding on how they can be holy,” he said. “It’s about the virtues we must develop so that we are equipped to be able to run the race (of life) with perseverance. We have to tie it to our crucified Lord because He ran the race also, always fixed on Jerusalem, looking to the end.”

Esquivel said they are still in the early stages of planning the retreat, but he is hoping this will allow for larger collaborations in the future.

“We’re hoping that the fellowship created in the retreat setting will also create friendships that will last even after the retreat,” he said. “We feel that as young adults, we’re called to be our own missionaries within the Church and sharing the faith with other young adults within the archdiocese is something we look further towards too.”

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