I enjoyed it because there was a friendly atmosphere and a strong faith present in the youth. Often, it is discouraging in my everyday life living in a country, where almost everyone is non-Catholic. However, the weekend gave me a new boost for my faith as a young Catholic living in a country with a Protestant and Atheist majority. Therefore, it was refreshing to get to know like-minded Catholic youth and to meet familiar faces.
Last weekend for the first time, I attended a “One Body in Christ” Youth Weekend at Stella Maris and, if God wills, it will not be my last.
The theme of this weekend was “What is my identity in the Church, the body of Christ?", or in other words, our vocation. Like most young people, I do not know what my calling is. Nevertheless, the question is significant, and we must ask this question from God, and ourselves. The weekend gave me a good opportunity to do so and ask Him, what He has planned for my life. I prayed for answers (yet fearing it). We, as young people, are still searching for ourselves and for where we fit in in this immense world. So in the weekend, sought clarity through the Catechesis, discussions, and through prayer in adoration, morning and afternoon prayers, the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and in Holy Mass.
Like most things, the weekend had to end. I was sorrowful that the fun of the weekend ended and that I had to. Once again, return to my non-Catholic environment at school, where God is neglected, vices praised, and the Catholic Church attacked. However, I now realise the opportunity I have to take the joy, care, and love I received in the weekend from God and fellow youth and apply it in my life. As St. Francis of Assisi beautifully said: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!” As a Catholic youth in a country where Catholics are a minority, we are the loudest with our actions, in our everyday acts of mercy and by reflecting Jesus’s love through us to the world.
About the author
Anna Kristiina El-Khoury is a born-and-raised Catholic girl living in Helsinki, Finland. Because of her Lebanese background, she is fluent in Arabic as well as English and Finnish. She is currently studying the International Baccalaureate Program. Her favourite Bible verses are the Beatitudes, especially "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9)
This is a blog about being young and Catholic in Finland.
Yiran, or Maria Micaela. Born in China but baptised in Spain (2015), student in Turku. Participant of the Youth Weekends at Stella Maris. Cooking, running and photography are my hobbies.