by Anthony Alleluya
KUWAIT, OCT 1, 2015: 'I AM the Light of the World', 'I AM the Good Shepherd' and 'I AM the True Vine' were the themes for the annual retreat by the Faith & Light Community, Kuwait, from September 23-25.
Faith & Light is an international community of people with special needs, their families and friends, accompanied by a spiritual guide for each community.
In Kuwait, it was founded by Doctor Fadi Kobal. They they have two units- 'Hallelujah' Arab community and the 'Ray of Light' English community.
The three-day retreat was attended by 60 members of different nationalities. The presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable through the excitement of those with special needs.
Father Angelos Masoud, the spiritual guide for the retreat, led the participants on a journey of discovering the GREAT I AM.
Each day began with a prayer or Holy Mass. The coordinating teams of both communities would then guide the children through the theme of the day, though mimes, skits, videos, games, craft activities and dance.
The sessions for the parents of the children with disabilities was led by Father Masoud. Guided by the scriptures they shared their own experiences of 'The Light', 'The Good Shepherd' and 'The True Vine'.
Father Johnson Nedumpurath, spiritual guide of the Ray of Light community spoke about the Good Shepherd.
Another highlight of the event was the procession on day three. It started with Father Masoud lighting candles that symbolised the True Light, to be shared with the world.
Singing hymns, the retreatants moved towards green pastures and gathered around the Good Shepherd, bringing to life the Word of God from John 10:14, 'I Am the Good Shepherd; I know My own and My own know Me.'
The Good Shepherd then led the community near the True Vine. Father Masoud summarised the purpose of the retreat through John 15:4, 'Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.'
With these words, Father Masoud asked each special child, along with their parents and friends, to profess their name, followed by the words 'Here I am'.
Then Father Masoud called each participant by name and said the commandment, 'You shall love your God with all your heart, with all your mind and all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself.'
With this declaration, everyone made a promise to always be in the community like the branches bearing fruits, by growing on the True Vine.
The retreat ended with a celebration of singing and dancing, and fond farewells. It was a new beginning for the Faith & Light communities of Hallelujah and Ray of Light.
For more information on faith and light communities visit www.faithandlight.org