Why Catholic? Retreat Explores
Eucharist Bread for the Journey
By Sr. Marie Cooper, SJC
The Why Catholic? Team at St. Gall Parish, Gardnerville, Nevada hosted the Eucharist Bread for the Journey retreat on June 8, 2011. They created a beautiful environment with table center pieces and prayer spaces in the large hallway and other “nooks” for personal prayer time and one-to-one faith-sharing experiences.
Sister Marie Cooper led the group in reflecting on the Gospel account in Luke of the Easter encounter of the disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Participants reflected an prayed about this encounter and connected it with how Eucharist sustains them on their personal journey. They particularly enjoyed their own “Emmaus Walk” outside, or “Emmaus Visit” in the spaces prepared, sharing their stories with one another.
Having recalled how Eucharist is bread for their own journey, they reflected on how we are called to be Eucharist for others on their journey with the inspiration of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s witness.
As the retreat ended, one woman witnessed, “I am so happy to be here, to see how I can be Eucharist for others. We have the power to do that!” A man said, gesturing towards a woman at his table, “She was Eucharist for me. I wasn’t going to come this evening, but she called me and got me here, and it has been such a blessing!” Another man, who had taken the walk with his wife said, “It was an amazing conversation. Very honest. We’ll do it again.”
The retreat was also hosted by teams at St. Patrick, Fallon where the choir provided music ministry, which greatly enriched the evening, and at Immaculate Conception and at Holy Cross, Sparks. Participants at all the locations voiced their praise and appreciation of the opportunity to “come apart and rest a while” with Jesus and the community. They said, “I needed this.” and “This is truly a spiritual experience.” and “I only wish more people had come out. We need to get people out for these retreats: they don’t realize what they are missing.”
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