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By Father Roy Anthony
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Shillong, Aug. 13. Shillong: An Annual Students Meet for the students of classes VIII-X was held at the parish centre on the 10-11 August.  The Salesian Cooperators did a lot of work in preparation for this meet. They personally visited all the Catholic schools in the parish and coaxed the persons in charge to send all the students for this important meet. They send letters to the villages where students of this group are available, although not run by the Salesians.  And the response was great this year.  There were over 325 students for this meet both boys and girls.
The prayer group ''United for Christ'' from Shillong came to animate the programme.  Although the meet turned out to take the format of a retreat, the students were fully immersed in the various sessions. Praise and worship always preceded the various sessions. The sessions were simple and suited to their age. There was so much insistence on building up a friendly relationship with Jesus even from this tender age. In the afternoon of the first day, a group of people from the Aids and HIV awareness department had a session with this group. Within a short session of just one hour and half, they highlighted the dangers of all kinds of addictions particularly of drugs. The children were absolutely attentive. During the main sessions the youngsters from ''United for Christ'' dealt with topics like obedience to the parents, importance of the Eucharist, regularity in reading the Word of God, taking part in the Sunday Catechism classes, being good Catholic children in our society today etc. In the evening of the first day the students were prepared for their confession and they all approached the sacrament in a more meaningful way. There was nothing really that the kids could not understand. But the message was put forward to them with so much power, so much based on scripture and in a way that captured their attention. By the end of the programme every one of these 325 kids had made their confession, and they received with greater fervour the Lord in the Eucharist.
The Finance commission did a good job with the preparation of the meals. The children enjoyed the meals! The Salesian cooperators saw to the expenses of the programme!  And they were present with the children all during the sessions. A beautiful experience of Salesian assistance for the kids!  The kids coming from the far villages stayed the night at the parish centre. Everyone was so happy with the whole programme this year: there was so much joy on the faces of these kids!  Although this age group is becoming more and more difficult to deal with, their behavior during this meet was exceptional. There was so much eagerness to listen, to learn and to be really good. Just three simple things they were made to promise at the end of the day: love and obey the parents, be absolutely regular with the Sunday Mass, and the Sunday Catechism Class.  The parish centre with so many kids had a look of Valdocco these days with this group of children around Don Bosco.


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