Over the past five years JTM India Ministry used to conduct the TOB Encounter only in Kolkata, and our team was able to divide their time between their studies, preparing the events and seeking donors for the same. As the years rolled by, we were blest with invitations from other Dioceses which took away our spare time to seek aid for our Theology of the Body programs. And thus the number of Encounters in Kolkata by the year 2016 was reduced to two TOB Encounters only and a day workshop. We can not thank enough Our Archbishop Thomas D'Souza for his help. Aware that we where going to several other cities he encouraged us not to forget Kolkata, in his thoughtfulness and mindful of our lack of time and our financial situation he endorsed our project proposal and Aid to the Church in Need Germany graciously came to our aid! We are so grateful to Our Lord Jesus Christ that in 2018 West Bengal has seen a significant growth in its impact on the Archdiocese of Calcutta and we were able to continue sharing on different states. In large part, this has been thanks to the project which is funded by Aid to the Church in need Germany, which allows us to go to other places without the worry of not having our Encounter in Kolkata for lack of funds! Founded in the year 2012, the JTM India Evangelization Team’s aim is to spread the message of love through Theology of the Body all over India. In the midst of the on slaughter of culture that our youth face, JTM India inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, desires to spread the message of true love to the young people so they can live in true freedom according to our Heavenly Father’s Will and reach true happiness in this life and in eternity!
“I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, because of your partnership for the Gospel.”
A Catholic spiritual and leadership Workshop for youth and young couples. Young people receive an exciting vision of â€œHuman Love in the Divine Planâ€? and are equipped with the spirit, tools, and skills to start making that vision a reality.
â€œWhen I see the JTM India team of young people, it really gives me hope to realise that I too can make the right choices and can do so much to serve the youth of my parish. I am also moved to live a spiritual life which is challenging in the generation of todayâ€?. - A participant
THEOLOGY OF THE BODY ENCOUNTER Our first mission programme was held from 2 n d February to 4 th February 56 participants at Don Bosco Nitika –Kolkata. This programme was special not just for the participants but also for our JTM Team. David, one of the pioneers of the group was leaving for Italy a week later for further studies, and this programme was his last Theology of the Body programme until he returned back to India. We conducted our second ‘Theology of the Body ENCOUNTER’ in Kolkata, from 21 st Septemrd ber to 23 September, 2018 at Auxilium Parish-8a, Seal Lane, Dhapa, Kolkata West Bengal. with 58 youth Attending it. Our ministry decided to end 2018 with one last Theology of the Body ENCOUNTER for our brothers and sisters of our own Archdiocese of Calcutta we were thrilled to have our own Archbishop Thomas D’Souza coming to celebrate Mass for us and to meet the participants. This event took place from the 30 th of November 2018 to the 2 nd of December 2018 at Auxilium Parish-8a, Seal Lane, Dhapa, Kolkata West Bengal, With 55 youth attending this retreat. The topics that was being covered for all the three TOB Encounters are as follows: Session # 1-Introduction to TOB: By Nizel Samuel – God said that everything which is created is good and Humans are the pinnacle of all the creation. But after the fall, humans with their free will rejected God and sin entered into the world. The starting of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s was a response of man’s deep longing to love and being loved, but it never satisfied one’s deep calling. This sexual revolution left a generation of youth with empty promises. St. John Paul II speaks about the New Revolution of authentic love which takes us back to the beginning.
Session# 2-What is meant by the Beginning: By Babli Murmu- Saint John Paul II speaks about Adam experiencing “ORIGINAL SOLITUDE”. We adapt this concept for the youth“The body and it alone makes visible what is invisible - the spiritual and the divine”. Here the youth will understand that: The church is the bride of Christ; Christ died for the church and Christ is the New Adam, who dies for His Bride. Session # 3-Testimony: By Joseph Francis –He spoke how his life was full of sufferings which exposed him to various kinds of addictions. Although he was lost, God touched his heart and brought him back to His way. His message for the youth- Never deny saying that you are Catholic and you love Jesus. Session # 4-The Heart: Accused or Called? By Niz el Samuel- “Man may not despise his bodily life, rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and hold it as God has created. He will raise that body on the Last Day. ” He explained that how God himself is the eternal exchange of love –Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. We are destined to be a part of this communion; we are called to image God on earth. Session #5-Truth and Freedom: By Niz el Samu el- In this session the two kinds of Truth were spoken about–Objective and Subjective. Also how the definition of Freedom has become so distorted (Do whatever you want and with whomever we want). But the actual definition of freedom is the Ability to Desire and Choose the Good. The bridge to choosing the truth and freedom is love. The session concluded with the topic of how Christ who reveals the truth of our identity, sets us free so that we can choose him. Session #6-Language of the Body: J oseph F ran cis- The points discussed were:
The language of the body as the “language of love” spoken within marriage.
Demonstrating ways the body can speak both truth and lies.
Session#7-Ethos of the body and media: By Niz el Samu el- The dangers of pornography and the how it distorts the dignity of the Human Person.
Session#8- Contraception and Abortion: By Diana Lin- Contraception blocks us from loving each other totally and how it is a major cause of rising divorce rates (unfaithfulness). ABORTION- It is a disrespectful and disregard of human life and goes against the natural law.
The safest place on earth is a mother’s womb, but abortion is making it opposite. An alternative to abortion was given: adoption. Abortion is not the only option.
Session #9-He gave them the law of life as their inheritance: By Son u Min j- This session dealt with same sex attraction and how we can deal with it. Our holiness is not measured by our capacity to alter our attraction but by our willingness to conform our will to the will of God. Session#10-The resurrection of the body as a reality of the future world: By Swagota Singh- A testimony was shared which spoke about hope. She left a message for the youth that no matter what had happened in the past we still have hope in Christ. It totally reveals the Christian revelation of our body, fall, redemption and resurrection. Session # 11-Examination of conscience: talk on confession : By Salomi Bramblebee This short session prepared the participants for the sacrament of reconciliation. The session examined the real meaning of confession and how it brings us back to God. It indicates how the Sacrament of recollection is a Sacrament of joy and healing. Salomi inspired us all by her personal testimony. Session #12-Ephesians5: By Anjalina Brahmin– The Sacrament of marriage was explained with reference to Ephesians 5 which speaks about the actual purpose of marriage: the procreation and education of children as well as the mutual perfection and sanctification of spouses. In marriage the husband and wife die to themselves for the love of one another. The act of One Flesh Union is meant to renew the wedding Vows. Session#13-Continence for the Kingdom of Heaven: By F ran k lin L ak ra- This session dealt with the call to priesthood and religious life. As we discover we are all called to marriage, the marriage here on earth foreshadows the heavenly marriage. Priesthood and religious Life is giving up the sign and living in hope for the eternal marriage. Session#14-Friendship, dating and family: By J oseph an d J oyce –The first people from whom we learn about love is our family. If we are able to love our family then we are able to love anyone. The session dealt with how friendship is one of the most important parts of our journey towards perfecting ourselves. Although we cannot choose our family, we can definitely choose our friends, who challenge us in our journey of faith. In this session we discussed the purpose of dating: to find a spouse. Joseph and Joyce explained the way a relationship can break down and hurt the person involved. They discussed ways we can build up a healthy relationship. Session #15-Dump him/her List: By Niz el an d Th erese - A sharing with practical discussion on how to figure out whether a relationship is healthy or not. It was a fun session where the speakers used their experiences and humour to share whether a relationship is healthy. The session was positive and gave the participants hope for better, healthy relationships. Session #16- STARTING OVER: By Dian a L in -She shared her testimony with us that how a youth can face so much depression in an impure relationship in order to get love. It clearly gives us an idea of how someone gets mixed with meaning of love and lust. But even in the midst of darkness Jesus was the light for her and how she still continues to follow Jesus in her own unique way. Whatever she shared was through proper training and knowledge, but most importantly through faith and undying love for Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit broke through in powerful ways on so many different levels during our True Strength and True Beauty Workshop! It was beyond what we could have hoped for and imagined. The Workshop was divided into six main sections. These “time blocks” are as follows: Friday Night :Ice breaker and Intro sessions On “The heart of a Woman” by Anjalina and “The Heart of a man” By Nizel Samuel followed by a lovely dinner and the Movie “Karol –the man who became Pope. Where our Young People discovered what is True Strength from the life and Example of St. John Paul II.
Saturday Morning We had four Sessions of half an hour each:
Strength and Discipline –by Sonu
Passion and Purity –by Babli
Every man’s Battle –By Franklin Followed by Joseph’s Testimony and
Broken Healed and Holy –By Joyce followed by Salomi’s Testimony During these sessions our youth where Invited to consider how their lives can be so much more if they will allow Christ to redeem and change them. We invited them to give Christ permission to purify all that is impure within them, beginning the process of redemption that will only be completed in heaven. This was possibly be the moment of greatest opportunity for deep conversion on the Workshop. We were not afraid to honestly and lovingly challenge our young people to lay all they were carrying down before Christ.
Saturday Afternoon We began the evening with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and we had two sessions before adoration: 1.“More than meets the eye” By Nizel -In this session it was explained that Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is more than meet the eye. And we spoke about the priesthood for without priests no Eucharist, no Sacraments. 2.Testimony By Diana Lin -Diana shared about her Encounter with Jesus in adoration and the relationship she has with Him who is “Truly Real and yet Highly Invisible.” 3.We had Adoration and confessions followed by the Lord ’s Day Meal Prayer Service: There was a calm sense of freedom during the adoration marked by appropriate times of silence, reflection, singing that moved the youth to tears and to experience the presence of Jesus in a very powerful way particularly during adoration. Our young people were encountering God’s presence. There were many tears; some even felt the physical presence of God. The Lord’s Day Meal always adds a sense of family and togetherness and helps us to reflect on the Sunday Gospel and Thank Jesus for all the graces received during the past week. Saturday Night After Dinner we had a movie: “The Letters” Mother Teresa’s Film. Sunday Morning We had four Sessions of half an hour each: Band of Brothers by Joseph Sisterhood –by Crystal Our Father’s Plan –By Anjalina and The Mystery Revealed –By Nizel
In these sessions we emphasized the importance of keeping good company: “It’s not enough to have good friends; we need friends who actually are good — their virtue can rub off on us and vice versa.” The presenters made it very clear that the fruit of chastity is freedom. “Freedom to love; freedom to see people and relationships clearly for who and what they truly are; freedom to give of ourselves physically and emotionally in the right way at the right time,” “A woman who is chaste is a witness to true beauty, which is sorely needed in our world. ” Sunday Afternoon w e h ad tw o more sessions follow ed by Holy Mass. What is our response by Nizel The Why’s Behind the What’s –by Sonu. By the time we got to this portion of the Sessions, which is an explanation of each part of the Mass and showing the symbolism and meaning behind every gesture and every prayer, we were more than ready for it. These sessions helped us in strengthening our understanding of our beautiful Faith and inspiring a deeper devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Participation of the youth at Mass was truly amazing.
We had an evaluation after the Workshop, and we all realized the need to prepare ourselves with even more prayer and usually we had adoration during the whole of the event which we didn’t this time, it was a learning experience and we have reviewed our Guidelines for the Events, including courses of action during times of emergency. Looking back on this past weekend, I would say that the retreat was amazing. The participants over all were fun and attentive, worship and praise prepared our hearts to hear the teaching. We were reminded that our hope is in Christ, the highest King. We were challenged to evaluate our lives and ask ourselves if Jesus is our life or our religion, and our final teaching focused on how to live in light of Christ's supremacy through our fervent participation at Mass. Wow. That's the word that kept popping into our head at the conclusion of each Session: "Wow." In our increasingly God-less modern age--where reality TV stars become role models, where there is an almost epidemic (and unhealthy) longing for worldly riches and pleasures--these vibrant Catholic speakers show young people how you can live in the world, but still be Holy.
The True Strength and True Beauty workshop focused on what it takes to be real man or woman of God, we discussed the themes of Prayer, Holy Mass, chastity, love, fellowship, and relationships in the everyday lives of young men and women.
JTM India Retreats and Workshops include:
10-12 trained JTM Team missionaries Retreat setup and clean-up Retreat talks Small group discussions Games: general + “Gospel-based” * Skits* Moving dramas* Music Movies* Guided prayer time Men’s and women’s sessions* Prayer labs* Recreational time* Confession/adoration*
*varies based on length of retreat and or priest availability