By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON — An international retreat movement hosted its first Mississippi retreat April 5-7 at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. The Emmaus movement is based on the passage in Luke 24, 13-35 when the disciples walk with Christ to the town of Emmaus, but do not recognize him until he reveals himself at the table. This parish ministry was founded in Miami by Father David G. Russell, Mirna Gallagher and a group of women dedicated to religious education. Their model has spread to several Latin American countries, China and Europe, mainly in Spain.
Lorena Urizar, of St. Peter’s Cathedral and coordinator of the Emmaus Ministry in Mississippi, said she and other coordinators have been preparing for more than two years individually and as a group by attending retreats in Texas and Missouri.
Upon their return, they began to invite others to share their experience. Emmaus ministry brought a group of coordinators from Houston and, together with the local team, offered the first retreat for women. The next Emmaus retreat, in this case for men, will be held May 3 – 5, coordinated by Irvin López and Ricardo Ruiz
The participants – called walkers – included 37 women were accompanied by members of the coordinating teams whom conducted the retreat in Spanish. Overall, 84 people from Texas, Missouri and Mississippi were present
During a three days retreat, walkers are in a closed environment reflecting Luke 24, 13-35 through unique techniques “The women’s retreat was an experience of true ‘encounter with the Lord’, with themselves and with the community” said Urizar. “All the walkers let God touch their lives with a testimony, a song, a dynamic, a hug, a moment of prayer, an encounter with nature and with the details with which God manifested itself in each one,” she added. Each participant can share with others the joy of the days but not the techniques, to not spoil the future experience of new walkers.
The mission of the Emmaus group “is to introduce people to the ministry of Christ so that they may experience the love of God and be converted, but without removing them from their path, that is, without pretending that they do it ‘our way,’ but (listen to) what the Lord shows them …, without removing them from their ministry,” Urizar explained.
“From this personal experience, each one could say, ‘were not our hearts burning, within us, while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?’, like the disciples did walking to Emmaus,” Urizar concluded “we want others to live the experience of walking the path of Emmaus and meet the risen Lord.”
the experience of walking the path of Emmaus and meet the risen Lord.”
By Berta Mexidor