SEE • LOVE • WALK
That was the theme of this year’s Pure Fire Young Adult Retreat held at Mt. Hermon Ponderosa on October 16-18. With over 80 young adults in attendance, retreatants were challenged to encounter God in everything, everybody, everyday (SEE); discover God’s mercy and selflessness (LOVE); and answer the call to service (WALK).
This year’s retreat coordinator, Mary O’Grady from Saint Lucy Parish, volunteered her time with other staff members for a retreat that has been in the works for nearly a year. Mary said, “If only one person is brought closer to God it is still all worth it. I want to thank all those who came, all those who encouraged others to come and all of those who prayed for this retreat. You are the ones who make it possible for everyone on the retreat to deepen their relationship with God.”
The retreatants came from many walks of life including those who have not been on a retreat or who have not attended church for a very long time. Joe Sarmiento from Holy Family Parish said that the retreat “re-grounded me in my Catholic faith and introduced me to new communities of young adult Catholics within the Diocese.” Cynthia Lucero-Obusan from Saint Martin of Tours Parish said, “Programs such as these are critical to keeping young adults engaged and active in the church and I hope that our Bishop and the Diocesan Young Adult Ministry will work to support and expand these programs in the future.”
Led by our keynote speakers, Robert and Maggie McCarty, young adults were led to see God in new eyes; encounter Jesus in the strangest of people, in the strangest of places; learn the true meaning of forgiveness and mercy; and embolden discipleship: called to be people of compassion and Eucharist. One talk that brought many retreatants to tears was learning about the forgiveness and mercy on the day of the Amish school shooting in 2006. Alongside our keynote, our musician, Earl Rivard, returned for a second year to lead retreatants in prayer through praise and worship.
Young adults were also given an opportunity to attend breakout sessions to “answer the call to service.” One session, led by Joanna Thurmann from Saint Julie Billiart Parish, was called “On The Move.” Joanna shared her experience of how she was called to be “on the move” through the Tijuana Ministry by working with the poor, the disabled, the migrants, and the marginalized. Joanna reminds us that Jesus is calling each of us to be “on the move” in our backyard, in our state, in our country, and in our world. To see Joanna’s talk, visit http://bit.ly/DisciplesOnTheMove.
Alongside the talks, retreatants got to know each other through small groups and many fun activities. Being surrounded by the beautiful redwood trees in the Santa Cruz mountains, retreatants went on hikes together, soaked up the sun, made s’mores around a campfire, and even tried to carry a tune from the Backstreet Boys.
On their last night together, retreatants immersed themselves through a Reconciliation Service. Calling to mind our sins and fragility, seven priests arrived from all over the Diocese of San Jose to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Before wrapping up the retreat, the retreatants celebrated Sunday Mass with our presider, Father Joe Kim, who reminded us to go into the world to “See like Christ Love like Christ Walk with Christ.”
For more information about the Young Adult Ministry, please visit www.dsj.org/young-adult or follow them on Facebook at “Young Adult Catholics of San Jose & Santa Clara County.”