By, James Gabriel

(23-25 August 2012)

Upon the school break during the month of August, 25 members of the St. Anthony’s altar server had successfully attended a retreat which had been held at the I.J. Barre Centre, Tanah Ratah Cameron Highlands.

Servers are seen gathered at church compound as early as 7 a.m.  Ready for a fun filled field trip which hadn’t been planned for quite a long period of time. For some, it was their first outing together. However, on the very beginning we had suffered a small set back when the bus didn’t arrive in time as said to be; thus putting us behind in schedule. Nevertheless, it didn’t deter our spirit nor our determination to have fun and gain new knowledge as well as experiences with our friends.


After setting forth only to realise that the bus wasn’t capable of long haul journey and it took us a gruesome six hours and two stops by the rest houses to arrive in Tanah Ratah. Upon arrival, we were glad to find that at least tea break ready to be served for it’s already 4.30 p.m.  After lunch, participants were briefed on the activities and rules before being given the key to their respected dorm. Participants were also divided into smaller groups where they’re supposed to work as a team throughout the retreat.


(Mr. Anthony briefing participants on the activities and rules throughout the camp)


Participants receiving their bed sheets and pillowcases


After all the housekeeping was done, participants were given time to freshen up and regroup later in the evening for a prayer before dinner. After dinner, what better way to end the day but to let off some steam and go on a short walk throughout Tanah Ratah; which to be honest is quite chillingly cold for this time of the year.


Participants neatly tucked into their jackets and sweater while some just has no problem dealing with cold weather


(Not to forgetting souvenirs for ones at home)



From the left Esayu, Jeshua and Vincent posing Goodnight before setting off to bed.

 The next day, we woke up as early as 6 a.m. to find out that everyone are required to gather at the parking lot for morning exercise. We did a series of warming up and stretching activities before we took on a 2km jog from I.J. Barre Retreat centre to the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


After jogging, we head back for shower and completed the morning prayer which is led by Mr. Anthony then finally sat down together to have our breakfast, fried bee hoon and coffee. The next on the schedule, were four consecutive talks by two separate speakers Mr. Anthony and Rev. Eugene, the parish priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Cameron Highlands. The first talk conducted by Rev. Father Eugene was on the proper gestures and postures during the mass followed by the talk on role and responsibility as well as discipline of altar servers by Mr. Anthony. Later in the afternoon, Mr. Anthony also discussed on Sacred Vessels used in church.                                                                                                                       


Rev. Father Eugene demonstrating the proper posture and gesture.


Servers listening close to talk upon the discipline of the Altar Servers

We were then invited by Rev. Eugene to come and celebrate the mass at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel where we were also given a tour around the church where Rev. Eugene explained the ideas and Inspiration beneath each architectural structure of the church. After the quick and informative tour, all of us changed into our cassocks and got ready to celebrate the mass.




Participants listen closely as Father Eugene explained his inspiration behind the build of the Altar.


24 altar servers of ST Anthony served the mass at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel



To conclude the activity on the day two of camp, participants gathered to enjoy the barbeque dinner while being entertained by members of each groups while the group leaders performed a short sketch which was seen as the finale as to wrap up the whole retreat.


(Participants enjoying the Barbeque dinner on the last night of the camp)


(Jammie  & Jeshua performing a combination of comedy & morale theme sketch which is seen as the highlight of the night)

The final and last day of the retreat begin with a morning prayer followed by breakfast before participants set out for fun filled sightseeing tour around Cameron Highlands. The sightseeing tour include a visit to the Big Strawberry park where participants was busy buying strawberries and fresh vegetables to bring back home. Participants also visited the ’Famous Bee Farm’.


(Big Strawberry Park)

After all the sightseeing, we then headed back to conduct the closing ceremony for the three days formation of St. Anthony Altar Servers where Mr. Arul, the member of the church liturgy committee did the closing prayer. As anticipated, the most promising team at the end of the formation was awarded. Seen below, team Yellow being the champion throughout the whole retreat.


(Mr. Arul handing over the prizes to winning team)

We then departed from I.J. Barre Retreat centre to set forth on our journey back to Kuala Lumpur. However, our visit here wouldn’t be complete without a stop to enjoy the fine local handpicked tea at Bharat Tea Plantation. We took the chance to visit the plantation site and also enjoyed some fine cup of tea.




(Bharat Tea Plantation)

Bharat Tea Plantation was the last visit in Cameron and that only means, that it is time to head back to KL. However, a sudden change in journey plan  taking the old Tapah  road down to KL  Regardless. we reached church safely and as expected where parents had already been waiting to welcome us back.

In conclusion, this event which had been planned yearlong wouldn’t had been successful without the help of parents, servers, ex altar servers, parish’s PPC , PCC & Liturgical committee and last but not least our parish priest, Rev. Father Terrence Thomas and also Rev. Father Eugene for the kind hospitality and all who had contributed in making this event a successful one.


(The group picture before heading back to KL)