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Church points teens in right direction

Retreat exposes young people to religious life and helps them address social problems

Church points teens in right direction
Boys and girls at the retreat reporter, Ragama
Sri Lanka

May 17, 2011

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A Tamil Catholic association has held a special retreat to expose teenagers to religious life and to explore ways of dealing with day to day problems caused from common distractions or through abuse. Some 220 teenagers took part in the two day retreat last weekend organized by the Joseph Vaz Mantram Association on a rubber estate at the National Basilica on the outskirts of Colombo. It was held to mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and included meditation, Bible studies, singing and learning about Church life and roles. “Many problems can prevent students performing religious and social duties," according to Good Shepherd nun Sister Mabel Fernandopulle, rector of St Ann’s Mahavidyalaya school in Colombo. Children develop an insatiable appetite for television, video games and cricket and also experience the bad effects of poverty, she said, adding that drug and child abuse were common problems. "What we offered here were some ways of coping with these problems and the possibility for them to adopt a new way of life within the Church," she explained. “There are many obstacles preventing children accepting religious life, including poor discipline,” said Aneston Fernando, 37, the association’s vice-president. This retreat, and weekly or monthly programs for children at parish level, help them grow and develop a genuine and affectionate friendship with Jesus, he said. Related reports Sri Lankan minister thanks Caritas for help Caritas agencies plan Sri Lanka reconstruction
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