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 “It really set me on fire and showed me how to make your walk with God stronger and to be a better person,” said Krystal Gil, a parishioner from St. Louise de Marillac Parish in Covina.

 Several youth ministers collaborated with Sacred Heart Parish in Rancho Cucamonga to establish a retreat meant to enliven the spirit of the youth and to form them as Christian leaders.

 “We got ‘Awaken’ because we need them to see the realities of the world, be awakened to the spirit of God and know how to live in this world,” said Gabriel Reyes, youth minister at Sacred Heart Parish Rancho Cucamonga and one of the coordinators of the retreat.

 The Francis Band headed by Francis Cabildo served as the worship band for the duration of the retreat. Speakers and presenters included Jamison Luke, youth minister and music minister in the High Desert; Rachel Bass, speaker and youth minister; Chris Mueller, a national Catholic speaker from Murrieta and David Calavitta, a youth minister from Irvine.

 “I got closer to God and was better able to comprehend my faith than I used to,” said Joshua Recalde, a parishioner from Holy Innocents Parish in Victorville. “I want to bring back to my parish what I experienced here. I want everyone to have this kind of experience.”

 Aside from talks, ice breakers and other activities, the retreat also focused time on prayer and reflection, including adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego.

 “God speaks to us and awakens us to …reach others through our example and sometimes even through our words,” Bishop del Riego said during his homily. “You may be called to share your faith with others. I invite all of you to offer the best that you have to God.”