Become like little children. This was the theme for our retreat when we, the catechists of St Joseph’s parish, gathered on the weekend of October 1–2 at the St Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Scarborough. The theme was directly linked to the gospel for that weekend (27th Sunday, Year B: Mk 10:2–16).
The first session on Friday night allowed participants to take a walk down memory lane, recalling happy memories from their childhood, using attendees’ pictures (before the age of 12), on the Padlet software.
This fun activity encouraged us to examine those events that initiated our faith and started us on our present journey as teachers of the faith.
Visio Divina, a form of ‘divine seeing’, was introduced to attendees during Morning Prayer the next day. Participants were given an image to peruse and after silent reflection, were asked to share one word that expressed their experience of the image.
It was truly amazing to witness how varied the participants’ responses were, of the same image! Each person was then invited to incorporate the shared word in her individual prayer.
Another activity catechists enjoyed was the Lectio Divina which challenged our creativity as we were asked to reflect then share creatively on the weekend gospel. After an hour of quiet time, we gathered to share our responses. There was artwork, Spoken Word, Calypso and extempo—all testimony to the Spirit who was powerfully at work among us.
‘Companions on the journey’ was the title of the next session. Participants were invited to get a partner and share one or two not so happy childhood memories. This was a time of healing for all of us as God gently reached into our past and allowed us to face painful stuff that had long been buried. Partners prayed with each other to bring this session to a close.
Our final sessions focused on the ‘inner child’. We looked at a children’s movie then engaged in some useful discussion: What childlike qualities did we observe in the characters? Which character(s) did we most identify with? What did the characters teach us about our ministry? This lively segment was followed by quiet time in which each person had the opportunity to converse with her inner child and write her a letter to ask for forgiveness, revisit forgotten dreams, or just to express thanks.
Our retreat ended with sincere prayers of thanksgiving to our God who has been faithful to us ever since our childhood. Many thanks are also due to Sr Rosemary SJC for her generous hospitality.