By Annette Tipton
GRENADA – Joy, peace and clarity were the observed fruits from a thought-provoking retreat held at St. Peter parish as part of the community’s ‘Year of Faith.’ “Becoming thoughtful men and women of God” was the theme for the adult faith formation retreat offered by the Apostolate of the Returning King on Oct 13-14.
The event included talks given by the team consisting of a humorous priest, a humble layperson, and a sharply knowledgeable psychologist. Father Darragh Connolly, the spiritual director and priest for the Apostolate, presented the organization’s mission and history. Anne, a layperson, shared ways to become self-aware with a challenge for the participants to change negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Margaret, a psychologist, brought all the talks together with striking teachings on how the brain functions.
“The speaker, Margaret, was exceptionally brilliant,” said Barbara Liberto. The retreat was a mixture of parishioners and non-parishioners, who were all greatly touched by the deep commitment and passion the team brought to their lessons about dealing with anxiety and stress using Contemplative Prayer.
The focus of the apostolate is as follows: “We lay people seek to develop as co-responsible Catholics. As we become more aware of God’s presence, accepting His love and healing, we are able to bring His light and love to those around us. By allowing Jesus to love others through us, we call them back into the safety of the family of God. Jesus calls this a rescue mission for souls. It involves people accepting their call to personal holiness, which then leads to service in the Church.”
Lori Arreola explained that the retreat “helped me to become more aware of how my brain works and to focus on reinforcing a positive uplifting atmosphere around myself and others.”
The retreat also included Saturday morning Mass, confession and adoration. “One take away for me was the Blessed Sacrament: it is not only you looking at Jesus, but Jesus looking back at you,” said Teresa Owens.
Many of the attendees also expressed their joy at the contemplative prayer structure, which teaches a way to quietly and slowly go through parts of one’s life with Jesus so He can bring healing and truth.
St. Peter in Grenada has a lay apostle prayer group that reads and discusses the writings of the apostolate every second Thursday of the month after 8 a.m. Mass. All are welcome. Anyone interested in starting a Lay Apostle prayer group in their parish can contact Annette Tipton at 985-518-5674. Additional information is available on the website, www.directionforourtimes.com.
(Annettee Tipton is the director of religious education for Grenada St. Peter Parish.)