February 10, 2011
Amarillo—For the past five years, a number of young Catholics have taken part in Thematic Retreats, offered by the Diocesan Youth Office and Covenant Teen Young Adults. Many have attended one retreat that led to a second.
Then there’s Antonio Tienda, a member of St. Ann’s Church in Bovina. Even two retreats weren’t enough for him and three might be too few as well.
“I attended a retreat in Friona (at St. Teresa of Jesus Church) last November and learned more in that one retreat than I thought I could ever know about my faith,” said Tienda, an eighth grade student at Bovina Junior High, who turns 14 in March. “I felt something during Adoration and it made me want to come back and feel it again. Ever since then, I’ve been feeling more at peace and growing in my holiness.”
Tienda said after the retreat ended, he decided to attend a second retreat, on Jan. 8 at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Pampa and followed that with a third retreat Jan. 22 at St. Laurence Cathedral, Amarillo.
How many more does he plan to attend?
“As many as I can,” he said.
Tienda also hopes to be a part of the leadership team for the 2011-12 school year.
“I feel like I’m being called to serve on the leadership team,” he said.
Could that lead to a higher calling, maybe, to the priesthood?
“It could be a higher calling,” Tienda said. “Ever since I made my First Communion, I’ve been an altar boy and all the priests that have served St. Ann’s have suggested that I should be a priest when I grow up. They said I’d make a good priest.”
What does he get out of attending these Thematic Retreats?
“I feel like I’m learning what I’m supposed to be in this life. He’s calling me, He’s getting ready to tell me what to do in my life.”
Cassandra Morales attended her second Thematic Retreat on Jan. 22 at St. Laurence Cathedral. It was the message in the music that brought her back for a second retreat.
“I’m really into the music,” said the 15-year-old, who is a parishioner at St. Laurence Cathedral and a sophomore at Canyon High School. “The music that is played really spoke to me. It comes back to the lyrics.”
Morales said Adoration was another reason she was attending her second Thematic Retreat.
“During Adoration, at that moment where you can feel the Holy Spirit on you, it felt really neat and I wanted to come experience that once again. It’s really neat how it feels, the calmness, the peacefulness that comes over you and you don’t know what it is. It feels really neat. It moves you to do different things.”
It was during her first retreat that she knew she had to attend another retreat.
“Once I realized what was going on,” Morales said, “and how I felt, I was determined to do this as many times as I can.”
Does she see herself serving on the leadership team next year?
“I would love to be a member of the leadership team,” she said. “It seems like the team has a lot of fun and I would love to be a part of that. In a way I feel called to move people toward Christ more and toward the Church more and to help them out with their faith and grow more in God.”
For more information on retreat dates visit www.amarillodiocese.org/youth, or call Oscar Guzman in the Diocesan Youth Office at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 383-2243, ext 118.