The Milton Conquest Club recently held its annual retreat under the guidance of Marvin Duarte and Father Thomas Murphy and Brother Nathan. The boys played soccer out on the dusty pitch, learned about the meaning of the mass, and about the real presence of Christ in the host, enjoyed pizza and ice cream and rubbed shoulders with their Conquest friends for the last time this season.
But the most significant part of the day for me, besides the dedication of the boys to Mary was the Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. It truly was radiation therapy because I could see the boys transform from a group of active, frenetic youngsters into a group of calm and reflective Christians.
Father Thomas had reinforced the dogma of the real presence with the boys in a talk earlier in the morning, and then they were ready to enter the chapel in the right frame of mind. As I sat at the back watching them pray, I was impressed by their devotion to Jesus and their deep acceptance of the presence of Christ before them. There were adults in the small chapel, but they seemed to accept the group of boys, and the boys accepted them. It was beautiful to see. There was no anxiety, no noise, no competition whatsoever...just boys sitting in front of Christ being radiated by His overwhelming love for them, and His joy at their presence.
And they were changed in a small way. They seemed more at peace, more tranquil, more serene.
This is the power of the Blessed Sacrament in action, and I am very happy that Conquest has reinforced this great gift in the boys, especially before the summer holidays.
In a time of rampant consumerism, overwhelming commercialism, ramped up technological wonders which rob us of our peace and focus, and wonder of nature, and the loosening of morals and values and respect for our fellow man, a Conquest retreat is the real thing. And the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is exactly what the boys needed.
Now they can go out into the world armed with the effects of the radiation therapy they have undergone, knowing that Jesus is with them, and that He is very well pleased that they took the time to sit with Him on a hot, sunny day just before the onset of the summer holidays.
This is what the Catholic Church is all about, and Conquest Boys Club forms an integral part in the formation of the boys' virtues and love of Jesus for the rest of their lives.
I thank God every day for that gift, and I thank Him for the marvelous gift of boys.