Under the patronage of His Eminence Metropolitan Basilios, St Paul parish, Dandenong Victoria was thrilled to return back to St Michael’s Monastery in Goulburn on Thursday 23rd September for the first time in two years, for their annual parish Family Camp.
Led by St Pauls Youth and Family Ministry Committees, under the guidance of Father Jean and Khoureya Rita Mawal, parish members from across 3 generations came together for the long-awaited 5-day spiritual retreat, themed around Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed…be Transformed.
Throughout the retreat, parish members were separated into groups for a busy, yet truly edifying agenda. This included spiritual talks from Father Jean Mawal and Dennis Krinas who both gave insights on how we can strive to transform our lives through repentance and our continual union with Christ. Chanting workshops, where parishioners learnt the Resurrectional Troparion of the week in tone 6, and a bread-making session, where members made their very own “bread offering” offered during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.
Young families also came together for 3 family-focused workshops facilitated by the Saint Pauls family ministry committee, which enabled each family to reflect on communication, technology and prayer within their family home and develop a plan to improve and transform their own families’ habits.
During the retreat, parishioners were also truly blessed with a visit by his Eminence where the senior and younger adults, youth and younger children each spent time with Sayedna in open group discussions. To conclude his Eminence’s visit, everyone came together in the chapel for evening Vespers presided over by Sayedna.
In addition to daily spiritual sessions, each day included a mixed schedule of various activities including daily prayers and family games. In their free time, children and adults spent their time socialising as well as playing basketball, volleyball and football, allowing the group to form even stronger bonds as one church family.
With thanks and Glory to God, Saint Paul’s parishioners returned back to Melbourne following another highly nourishing and successful Family Camp.