Sharrol Jose is amazed by the relentless faith of a bunch of youngsters from Loyola College, Chennai. From a few members, they have come a long way in short time. They share about witnessing the power of unceasing prayers and how faith is leading them on Campus.

There was something  different about them.  But, what is it? I was  curious to find out.  Here’s a bunch of  determined youth from Loyola  College (Chennai, India) who  is making waves on campus  with their prayers and acts of  mercy. This is the story of their  unwavering faith. Meet Ivin  Maria Mathew, Aju Soni Thomas,  James Sebastian, Joyeson S,  Adheena Mary George, Eddith Sara  Varghese, and Sharon Maria Jose.

Q. Ivin, we see so many  changes on your campus last  year. How did all this begin? 

IVIN: It all began with the National  Campus Conference in October,  2016. A small group of us attended  it and we were asked to share  our dreams for the campus. We  decided to dream big and started  praying. Our first opportunity  came when ILO (In the love of the  Lord), the zonal campus program,  was planned. Since we wanted to  host it on our campus, we started  interceding for the intention.

Loyola College has a huge  campus with five different  Institutions. We walked around  in groups and recited rosaries  especially around the hall where  we wanted to host the program. We  surrendered our dreams to Mary  and went on our knees (literally)  to get the venue. And we got it!  This was the first time a zonal JY  program was being held on our  Campus. We started to intercede  more for ILO program with Rosaries  and Divine Mercy Chaplets, and  even used all kinds of social media  for intercession.

Prayer was the back bone of  the program and it was a great  learning experience for all the  team members. As a result, we got  a strong group of people praying,  supporting, and dreaming big for the Campus. Love Campaign, an  outreach to clean up different  places brought us together in  practicing acts of mercy. With the  power of prayer and fellowship, our  prayer group was strengthened.  This has inspired me to be more  rooted in Jesus and Jesus Youth.

All of us in the core team had  a lot of dreams. Believing in the  power of prayers, we dreamt big.  Soon, we planned for ‘IGNITE,’ a  one day program for freshers. We  started our intercession with rosary  in the evenings.

Q. How did u prepare for  ‘IGNITE’? 

AJU SONI: This was the first time  such a program was conducted  in Loyola. We started rosary  intercession and collected prayer  support from other campuses in  the zone. We mobilised through  social media, one to one, peer  groups, poster, videos, and all other  forms of communication possible.  We had an intercession room with  adoration and confession, and all  volunteers took turns to sit before  the Lord. Today, we have more than  60 committed youth. Truly, this is the fruit of all the intercessions. It  reminded us of the miracle of five  loaves and two fish. This group is  now actively involved in all the  initiatives of the prayer group.

Q. Was this just a group which  always pray? 

JOYESON: During the year, we had  a few fellowship gatherings which  helped us to forge a good bond  amongst ourselves. On September  8, Mary’s feast day, we visited the  Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni,  Besant Nagar. Fr. Prince our  chaplain celebrated mass for us  and we had a time of fellowship,  music, celebration, and games  on the beach nearby. This outing  really bridged the gap between  seniors and juniors. Many more  people were willing to come to  prayer meetings after this. We had  another outing to the Shrine of St.  Thomas the Apostle, Little Mount.  A Christmas outreach to Mithra,  the differently-abled school, saw more than 100 students from the  college coming together. We had  a display of the nativity and other  fun games for the kids. We also  did a bicycle riding to the beach.  All these helped us to reach out to  many more youth.

Q. One of the main events in  the college was the Prolife  Exhibition –Livet. Could  you please share how you  prepared for it? 

EDITH &SHARON: The main  strength of this exhibition was our  intercession. It was a three-month  preparation. More than 1000  people joined in this. We prayed  Rosary of the Unborn, and Holy  Blood. We also prayed specially  for the pregnant and unborn daily.  We started a special intercession  where two people walked around  the venue of the Livet by praying  the Rosary of Life daily for three  months. In addition to this, we  prayed 100 creeds daily for 33 days. We had a special adoration  in the college chapel for Prolife  intentions. Seeing some of us  praying, someone asked us, “Why  are you doing this in the hot sun  and wasting your time. Will God  listen to your prayers?” They had  to wait till the exhibition for an  answer.

Q. And, how did the exhibition  go?

IVIN & JAMES: The exhibition  was held on March 8, 2018. We set  up the stalls and were ready the  previous night. We opened by 10am.  There was a continuous stream of  visitors the whole day. The Principal  and various members of the faculty  visited the stalls. Many were  enlightened and shared that they  found a new meaning in life. It was  a new experience for many youth.  Our faculty were amazed that youth  were so concerned for life and were  able to do such an amazing thing  on a campus of more than 9000 students. One of our professors saw  the exhibition and returned with  her students. Videos on Prolife were  put on the college website on that  day. More than 1000 people visited  the exhibition that day. It went way  past the working hours and into the  night wherein we had to hold torch  lights for lighting up the area.

It was indeed a miracle. We  expected many challenges but with  the strong prayer support, everything  went smoothly. After the exhibition, those who had questioned us and  doubted us came and said, “It’s a  great thing that you have done. God  has certainly heard your prayers.”

Also, we had on-going adoration  in the Chapel during the time  of the exhibition. It was a great  spiritual encounter of all of us. We  were amazed by the support we  received from every quarter. We are  also thankful for the support and  guidance we got from the senior  Jesus Youth and elders.

Q. What was the response of  the college authorities to the  Jesus Youth prayer group? 

JOYESON: We felt Mother Mary was  recognizing our prayers when our  campus minister, Fr. Leolin invited  us, the Jesus Youth, to put up a  Rosary stall during the yearly Rosary  Procession for the Loyola group of  institutions on our Campus. It was a  big recognition for us.

Q. Were there any initiatives  for women?

SHARON & ADHEENA: Another  fruit of this year was the prayer  meeting we could start in the  women’s hostel. As a preparation  for the Prolife exhibition we kept  a bottle in the prayer room, in the  hostel, and a box of “Manjadi Kuru”  seeds near it. We asked people to  pray for the exhibition and also for  the Syrian refugees. After reciting a  Hail Mary, they were asked to put a  seed into the bottle. The bottle was  filled to the brim with more than  2500 seeds within two weeks. When  we removed the bottle at the end of  the prayer period, many of the girls  came and requested us to continue  this prayer campaign. We restarted  it and the cycle of prayer for  various intentions still continues.  We also kept another box to receive  prayer intentions which we pray  daily in the hostel.

Sharrol Jose has been actively involved with Jesus Youth movement since her college days and is currently the formation coordinator in Chennai. She lives with her husband and three children in Chennai, India and is part of the Kairos Global Editorial Council