February 26, 2011: St. Mary's SSC - VII JCP Animation
Over a hundred students of Std VII at St. Mary's SSC, undergoing the Jesuit Certificate Program spent an entire morning focusing on the importance of 'Spirituality'. At the request of the school Principal, Fr. Baptist, Mrs. Nouella Julian the Value education Coordinator invited the AVEC team to animate the three hour session. In spite of being a Saturday, the students took time to sacrifice their holiday to attend the session. The Teachers conducting the Jesuit Certificate Program for the students were also fully involved in the program of the day.
Mr. Rochwyn Fernandes began the session by invoking the presence of the Almighty through a powerful Video song. This was followed by inviting the students to a fantasy meditation that helped them to focus on their breath and relax. This enabled the students to focus on what was to come. The theme for the day was 'Spirituality'. Fr. Glenford Lowe began by enabling the students to look at Religion and Spirituality. Both are different and it was important to be more Spiritual people than merely religious people.
Fr. Glenn enabled the students to look at Spirituality as a 'daily way of doing what is more loving'. Religion focuses on 'helping us to do the right thing', Spirituality transcends and helps us to do the 'loving thing'. Through a number of exercises the students were able to see the need to make and live a 24/7 Spirituality. Religion focused on the Cult, the Creed, the Code of beliefs, the Community, the Covenant and the Cultural Setting. Spirituality on the other hand focused on one's way of living the experience of God in relation to the world, neighbor and self.
After a short break, the students were broken up into small groups. During this time, they were able to share with the others their 'Image of God' and their belief and practice of 'Prayer'. The students also looked at the various blocks in prayer. Fr. Glenn then concluded the session on Prayer with a number of personal testimonies and experiences.
All through the session, the students displayed a keen sense of openness and participated whole heartedly in everything. One could notice a sense of quality in the questions that they asked. At the end, the students gave a standing ovation and a 'rain blessing' to the speakers of the day. Congratulations to all the teachers and the students for this beautiful experience. It is my only hope that many more schools introduce topics such as these to the students.
Given below are a few comments by the students of STD VII on their evaluation of the program:
"The session on Prayer was very good and I learnt the importance of it in my life" Sean B. D'Cruz VII
"I never learnt so much about Prayer and Spirituality. Thank you for the knowledge and introducing it to me." - Hamza.S. Arsiwala VII
The AVEC this identified 24 schools in the Archdiocese who participated fully and showed a keen interest in the Care for Creation Competitions. Mr. Rochwyn Fernandes presented the 'Appreciation Award' to Mrs. Nouella Julian on behalf of the school principal. We congratulate the school management for the very keen interest in promoting Values among the students.