Check out what Korean Catholic Youth Day is and Harry’s reflection here.
When I first heard about FIAT Youth Day, I knew that I wanted to go. There wasn’t any specific reason. I just felt like God was telling me that I shouldn’t pass up an opportunity like this; one where I would be with many other young Catholics, sharing the same faith. I didn’t really know what to expect from the trip, but I think it’s safe to conclude that this weekend was one of the most eye-opening and memorable weekends I’ve had.
I’m having trouble picking out what the best part of it was because I find myself listing practically all that happened. I loved the 12-hour long bus rides to and from Socal, despite the neck and back pains from our uncomfortable attempts at sleeping. It was the ultimate bonding experience, filled with lots of good conversation and laughing. I loved the Korean food that they provided us. Kimbap is my new favorite food! I think that God really blessed the worship band members with amazing musical talents because the music was fantastic beyond words. I really enjoyed the talks that the speakers gave. I felt that they were very relatable, and they motivated me to challenge myself to do more with my Faith and in my relationship with God.
But if I had to narrow it down, I believe that my favorite parts of FIAT Youth Day were Adoration and the feeling of being with other Catholic youth. There were hundreds of empty chairs lined up in the room. As other church communities filed into the room and filled the seats, I was taken aback by the sheer number of people there. SJCCM and Watermark have been the only Catholic community that I’ve known and been a part of. I had definitely never seen that many Catholics, let alone those my age, gathered in one place before. This feeling of community quickly became one of my favorite parts of the weekend because I had never experienced anything like it before. Even though I was in a room with complete strangers, I felt far from alone; there were hundreds of other high schoolers that shared my faith, my beliefs, and my love for God. Most importantly, Adoration was one of the highlights of the weekend not only because of the personal prayer that I was able to have during that time, but from an indescribable feeling of having Adoration with so many others. In the moments when I looked up, I was able to see how most everyone was lifting everything up to Him. It really moved me to see people reaching out to God, both physically and spiritually.
One thing that I wish was done differently is the small group session. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it; I just wish we did more in the group and had more time together. The rest of the Youth Day was mostly an individual experience, with listening to the speakers, Confession, Adoration, and singing to the worship music. Had we been given more time to get to know one another, I feel that the experience would have been even more memorable than it already was. I wish I had the chance to get to know some of the people I met better. I guess we will save that for when we see each other again next time!
I find it funny to think that one of my initial concerns was that, being Chinese, I would feel rather out of place at a Korean Youth Day event. What if the speakers spoke Korean and I couldn’t understand? What would happen if somebody started speaking to me in Korean, then would what I do? I quickly learned that in the end, it’s not about your ethnicity or the language you speak. It’s not about whether you come from Norcal or Socal. And it’s not about what church or community you came from. Those are all important, but what truly matters is that as Catholics, we are all the same – united by our Faith. You could learn a different language, move to a different state, or attend Mass at a different Church. But Catholicism is universal.
We worshipped together, we prayed together, and we praised together. I truly hope that in the future, we are able to bring more of Watermark to experience events like FIAT Youth Day. I believe that it is a great way to learn about what it means to be a Catholic and to grow spiritually.