Sowers of God’s WordTuesday 25th September 2018
Last Saturday saw a packed hall at St Bede’s College as members of the parish Hope in the Future Teams from across the diocese gathered for a retreat day.
This was a chance to give thanks to God for all we achieved together during Stage One and an opportunity to ‘refuel’ and pray for inspiration for Stage Two.
The day began with an opening liturgy and was followed by a keynote address from Fr Chris Gorton who explored the theme ‘Sowers of God’s Word’ which was based on the Gospel from that day, the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15). Fr Chris explained that this parable of Jesus underpins the whole Hope in the Future Programme. Fr Chris said ‘Our job is to keep sowing seed everywhere we go. Some will fall on good soil and grow whilst others won’t. If we just keep telling people about the Gospel we can leave the rest to God.’
Attendees were then divided into three small groups named after St John the Evangelist, St Teresa of Avila and St Francis of Assisi. Each group had the opportunity to attend three different ‘Prayer Experiences’.
Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ led a session of the Jesuit prayer exercise ‘the examen’, Sr Brenda Matterson DC led a session on ‘Personal Prayer’ and Fr Gavin Landers led a session on ‘Lectio Divina’. Those attending the day commented on how inspiring the it had been.
The retreat concluded with a Holy Hour led by Bishop John which included music, scripture and silence. Bishop John gave all those present a copy of a quote from – Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Before leaving parish teams received a reflection resource called ‘Give 10 minutes to God’ which encourages all parish meetings to begin with a short time of prayer based on the upcoming Sunday Scripture.