NZ Passionist Young Adult retreat held 15th – 17th July 2016 at the Magnificat retreat centre in Featherston.
Thanks to Fr Ray Sanchez Passionist Priest from Brisbane for presenting such informative and reflecting sessions relevant to all at the Young adult retreat.
Renee shared with me she was quite apprehensive about coming to a Passionist retreat as she had in the past attended Praise and Worship style retreats and wondered if she would actually enjoy it. The smile from ear to ear was an early indication of what she would say next…..as she shared that even though she had heard from other young adults about their experience of a Passionist retreat, she never really understood what they were expressing…..until now!!
It can seem like hard work at times inviting, inviting, inviting, young people to take time out. These weekends however are testimony that the richness discovered in relationships, knowledge and care in listening to one another are food for the soul and help us as ‘work in progress’ on our faith journey.
Christina shares her thoughts:
Reflections on YA retreat
We arrived at the retreat centre just out of Featherston and set up for the weekend. After dinner, we got to know each other in a more formal way, before staying up for a while and getting to know everyone in a less formal setting.
In the morning, we started by learning about the different levels of faith. Depending on when you became a Christian depends on what level you start at, and most people only make it to stage 5 of 6. People who make it to level six include Blessed Mother Theresa and Jesus. Except for stage one, which is generally reserved for young children (who can’t distinguish between reality and the made up), most people are a mix of the stages. After lunch, we learnt about the stages of prayer, which loosely correspond with the levels of faith. However, unlike with the levels of faith, more people can use the 6th stage of prayer, which is contemplation. Father Ray (a Passionist Priest who travels around Oceania for events like this), our presenter for the retreat, presented all of this really well, and at a level that all of us could understand. The rest of Saturday was dedicated to preparing and eating dinner, as well as celebrating vigil mass. This was a beautiful experience, and all felt very included.
On Sunday morning, we were all sad to leave retreat, having learnt a lot. One of the major topics for discussion as our group photos were taken and final announcements were made was that most of us wished that we could have longer on retreat, to soak up more of Father Ray’s wisdom. Unfortunately, because we are all adults, we acknowledge that it would be hard to take time out of our schedules (and work) to spend more time away from our lives.
All in all, we all came away from the retreat knowing much more about our faith, and how to pray, as well as aspirations on how to go forward with our faith. Personally, I am looking forward to the next retreat, and wonder what I will learn in my faith journey while I am on this earth before I go to meet Jesus.
The six levels of faith are:
- Imagination/Fantasy/Vibes (~2-7 years)
- Stories/Literal (8-12 years)
- Conforming/Parade (13-28 years)
- One model (18+ years)
- Many models
The forms of prayer:
- Prayer of petition
- Saying set prayers
- Liturgical prayer
- Conversation model