On August 7, the men’s vocational retreat commenced. Eighteen young men from all over the country came to participate in five days of silence & prayer beginning with the parish 12:30 High Mass on Sunday afternoon.
After spending some time getting to know each other at the parish bazaar, the retreatants went with the FSSP priests to the retreat house on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, the spiritual retreat began in earnest. Each day was initiated with Lauds at 6:30, then Mass, conferences & meditation, None, free time, Holy Hour, Rosary, Vespers & Compline.
All of the conferences focused on different aspects of the priestly vocation and also included a history of the FSSP. At the end of the retreat, the retreatants were interviewed individually by the priests.
Participants especially appreciated the silence & seriousness with which the retreat was conducted for, in the words of one participant, “even though it [the silence] was difficult at the beginning, it was necessary for discernment.”
Retreatants likewise loved the beauty of the Divine Office chanted in common and the daily Adoration. Two of the conferences which were especially enjoyable and beneficial focused on the manly call to priesthood, its relation to paternity and the priestly intimacy with Christ.
Although the spiritual aspects of the retreat were crucial for discernment, the directors believe that physical health is also important for carrying out sacerdotal duties. “Mens sana in corpore sano.” A sound mind in a sound body. Thus, the retreatants participated in a lively soccer match near the end of the retreat. It was a fun, healthy way for the players to de-stress and forge the bonds of friendship which sports promote. The game was an excellent close for the retreat which was a truly fruitful experience for all who attended.
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