Tuesday, April 08, 2003

One of the nice aspects of this retreat, which is very local-not in a secluded rural area, is meeting many Catholics from the diocese and discussing the good and the bad of the local Church. After a talk given by the organizer of the retreat, many people asked questions and gave comments about the situation today. I wish this had been a little longer or an actual planned event. People need to vent and to share ideas on how to help spread orthodoxy here.

I want to give a plug to John Moreno, the organizer of the weekend, who wrote A SPIRITUALITY FOR POLICE OFFICERS. The story he tells in the book is interesting. Basically, he retired from the NYC police force in order to be the retreat director at a large retreat house. After 13 years doing this, he was replaced after his orthodoxy became a problem for the new priest in charge. He founded Catholic Lay Preachers with his ex-partner Tom Cook, and they would speak at various Catholic events. Meanwhile Fr. Benedict Groeschel was doing yearly retreats at another local retreat house and became alarmed at the other types of retreats being held there. When he was told that the retreat house would not stop holding these questionable retreats, he simply stopped holding his retreats there. [His retreats were the only ones consistently sold out]. In his search for a place to hold annual talks and retreats, he contacted Mr. Moreno who discovered the retreat house at Kellenberg High School. Since it is not used on most weekends, it was graciously offered for use by Fr. Phillip Eichner. Now, Long Island has an orthodox retreat series and night of recollection series for adults. The popularity has been growing. I have attended a few retreats and nights of prayer there and my favorite is the annual summer “Teaching Retreat” held in the summer. This year the presenters are:
Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Fr. Andrew Apostoli
Msgr. George Graham
Msgr. William Smith
Bishop Ignatius Catanello

This will be held from July 25 to July 27 so anyone interested email me and I will give you the contact info for Lay Preachers.

Also, Fr. Groeschel is starting the Oratory of Divine Love as a loosely organized group of prayer groups.
The first talk that Fr. Groeschel gave on last weekend’s retreat set the tone of the retreat. He talked about 2 different ways a person can be a Catholic. The first way was as a “Church Person”, someone involved in various parish activities, one who followed the “rules”, one who contributes greatly to the running of a parish. The Church Person could be a very wonderful Catholic. The second way was to be a Disciple. This was someone who revolved their life around Christ and who is more inclined to seek spiritual perfection than become an avid volunteer at the parish. (I have yet to take notes at any events I attend so these words are all mine, this is just what I remember) Fr. Groeschel emphasized that neither way was the “correct” way to be a Catholic but made it pretty clear on the retreat that he preferred people to become Disciples more so than Church Persons. Church People are depressed right now because of the scandals but Disciples are energized and realize this is the time for evangelization. He emphasized how important it was to get involved in the parish and diocese however, which made me think I should do something. I have neglected to get involved in any official organization or group since I think there is so much garbage out there. Still, more than getting involved in groups or following the rules, Groeschel wants people to study the bible, pray, and do works of mercy. I am not doing a good job of describing his talks (I should start taking notes) but I was impressed with his idea.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Just got home from the weekend retreat with Fr. Groeschel. The retreat was excellent but a bit much to take in - perhaps I didn't sleep enough because my mind is jumbled and I'm very tired. This afternoon Fr. Groeschel's talk and Mass was open to everybody and there were several hundred attending in the auditorium. Good to see a nice turnout for him.