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Saint John Damascene and John Calabria
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Ghana retreat - 4-21 August 2008

18/09/2008: Ghana - Photo gallery

The theme of our retreat was Water from the Rock. We gained a wide ranging under-standing of the document as we touched upon some of the essential elements of our spirituality. To study the document chapter by chapter served the pedagogical goal of knowing the contents well. We noticed a link between the five parts of the document. The theme helped us to go back to our roots, and we felt ourselves members of this large Marist family present in 80 countries of the world. What we received was very enriching and challenging. We feel that WfR has come at the right time in the history of the Institute.

The presentation of the document was effected by talks and by sharing. Though lengthy, the talks were very lively and kept all the Brothers involved. The short introductions before the reflections were very helpful. They were clear, experiential and related to Marist life. They were presented with conviction, zeal and joy. Along with the presentations we must also make reference to the daily homilies which helped us enter in an atmosphere of prayer. The way they were related to the reading of the day and to the contents of the WfR showed us how much our spirituality can be biblically grounded. The homilies really did meet the expectation of the retreatants.

The afternoon sharing was excellent. It truly helped all of us to deepen our understand-ing of Marist Spirituality. We benefited more than anticipated from this time: a cause for thanking God! It would have been quite interesting to have the talks in written form so that we could use them when we are back in our own communities. Sufficient time was provided for personal prayer and the Brothers made good use of it.

The notes which were distributed were adequate; they helped all of us in our personal prayer. We will continue using them for our spiritual growth. They assisted us in entering into a proper relationship with God and to reflect more on what we are and what we do. They helped us to read the book more attentively, to pray with it and to take our own notes. There was enough material for prayer “providing enough food for thought.”

Mention has to be made of a special moment of our retreat: the Penitential Celebration and the day for the sacrament of Reconciliation. The biblical Penitential Celebration was very enriching and touching, through it we have gained a better understanding of this sacrament. It was creative and very conducive to meet the Lord and to be fortified by Him. We really felt like new creatures before God. On such an occasion, more than one priest should be available for confessions; otherwise the whole celebration becomes too long. With everybody participating, the procession, symbolizing as it did a depar-ture from our old selves, was very meaningful, full of ideas and lively. It stimulated the desire for individual confession. The planning and execution were orderly and systematic, well done and it helped all of us feel like new persons. It was impossible not to understand the “holy transformation” to which we are called.

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