This year, the catechists of St. Joseph’s, Scarborough, journeyed to San Fernando for our annual retreat (September 21-23) and what a memorable weekend it was!
We were hosted by Mary Baptiste and members of the Zion Community who ministered to us powerfully in word and song throughout the weekend, as they helped us explore the retreat theme: My grace is enough for you (2 Cor 12:9). We arrived late on Friday night, hungry and tired and very grateful for the delicious hot soup and comfortable beds our hosts provided.
The retreat began in earnest on Saturday morning with the Divine Office, and after a hearty breakfast, Mary led us in the introductory session. We reflected on the immediate context of the scripture verse we had chosen as our theme, and there was much lively discussion on the meaning of “paradise” and “grace”. After the discussion there was time for quiet reflection on the question: “What is your thorn?” On Saturday afternoon other members of the community led us in a dynamic praise and worship session which ended with individual prayer and words of prophecy for each catechist. We truly felt blessed and highly favoured! Later that evening, we joined the parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for the celebration of the Eucharist.
After breakfast on Sunday morning, Mary shared her personal testimony of how God’s grace had been at work in her life, prompting her to leave everything and follow Him – a decision that eventually led to the birth of theZioncommunity. “What do I need to do now, in order to be more open to God’s grace?” This was the question she posed to us at the end of her awe-inspiring testimony.
Our retreat would not have been complete without a visit to the Wild Fowl Trust. It was a truly wonderful experience to visit this nature reserve and savour its serenity and breath-taking beauty – a preview of paradise! Sunday lunch was a festive affair and by 2:00 p.m. we were on our way to the airport. Words can hardly express the gratitude we catechists feel for the gift of this unforgettable weekend. My sincere prayer is that Mary and all the members of the Zioncommunity will be richly blessed as they continue their ministry to God’s people. – Bernadette Phillips