Spiritual Retreat for the confreres
Port Moresby: “Reflective, inspiring and evangelizing” was the expression of Fr Eduardo Revilla when asked about the Spiritual Retreat.
The Retreat commenced on 27th June and concluded on the 2nd July, 2021. The 17 participants also included a diocesan priest and a Sister of Jesus. Three additional confreres joined the retreat online. The focus of the retreat was to enable the participants ‘listen, reflect and reach out to evangelize’ all those they encounter.
Fr Gregorio Bicomong, Provincial Superior of the vice-province was the preacher of the retreat. In his opening talk he invited the participants to spend time away from all distractions: “Stop, listen and reflect on what God is calling each one of you to do”, he said as he addressed the participants present in his introductory talk.
The retreat was much appreciated by all the participants. “The multimedia presentations with sound clips and a handout at the end of each session, the well animated Eucharistic celebrations, adorations and good nights and the interaction amongst the confreres contributed to a fruitful retreat. The moments and the Sacraments were occasions to share in prayer their joys, struggles and challenges”, said Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb. “The talks and the presentations were powerful and clear with the aid of videos and slides. It was a good follow up of what was on screen that kept us pondering the entire day. The work of the Emmaus staff and good weather also contributed much to the positive atmosphere of the retreat”, said Fr Angelo Fazzini sdb.
“Every day the Lectio Divina and retreat talks gave us a lot of ‘hand tools’ and ‘armours’ for our missionary journey as consecrated men and women as well as motivation for our daily apostolate,” said Br. Reto Wanner SDB.
“The powerful questions such as: What are you doing? Do you preach Jesus? Are you authentic in doing your Mission? These and other questions have challenged me to reflect and pray that I may do the will of God in the best way possible. At times I am afraid to see the reality of the Mission. I realize its many difficulties and obstacles. However, I find consolation and hope that God is always there, and that I have been chosen to be his simple servant. I therefore need to do my duties extraordinarily well and let God do the rest”, said Fr Arjuna, a recent addition to the vice-province who made his first retreat as a missionary in the vice-province.
Fr Michel Morando, a diocesan priest on his way to Italy expressed his joy at being able to be part of the enriching retreat together with the Salesian Brothers. “I feel evangelized by your kindness and brotherhood. Being alone as Parish Priest, I utterly appreciate community and family life”.
The program outlined for each day was well coordinated by Fr Joseph Thanh. “The schedule has given us enough time for reflection, rest and relaxation. The food has been good, sufficient and with a rich variety,” said Fr Edwin Genovia.
“The Lectio Divina was filled with information and each one had a lot of room for reflection. The rich information has challenged us not to be preoccupied in our own world. The life changing examples of St Ignatius of Loyola, Sr Clare Crockett, the drug addict turned priest and the mother who eventually became a Catholic because of a Filipina friend challenges us to a life of commitment and authenticity”, reflected Fr Clifford Morris.
“It has been an occasion for me to stop and look back to see if I have been on the right track and followed my Salesian Identity. The Lord has been shepherding us in order that we gain strength to shepherd the sheep in the schools and in the parishes”, said Br Conrad Vamilat sdb.
“The retreat has led me to lay down my preconceived views and see the issues that surround us through Gods eyes” said Sr Senorita Mi Jung Kim, SCG. “I am grateful for the invitation to be part of this retreat. The beautiful liturgy, the delicious meals and the moments of prayer have been very enriching,” she continued.
“The retreat has been a challenge, that has helped me understand my mission. Despite the many difficulties, the Salesians still move on, because we know that: ‘It is not my will, but the will of God be done! We pray for strength to take up the chalice with hope and assurance” said Fr Joseph Tinh.
Renewed and refreshed the confreres expressed their thanks for this moment of grace and blessings on all those who made it possible.