The Congregational Retreat was held from 19th evening to 24th afternoon of August, 2018 at Vidivelli Retreat Centre, Sundampatty, Krishnagiri. It was animated by Rev. Fr. Edathumparambil Binu, Msfs& Fr. Austin Joy, Msfs. The theme of the retreat was “WALK THE WAY AND LIVE THE GRACE”. To be spiritually healthy one should establish a triangle relationship that is union with God, others and oneself.
On the first day, we began the retreat with the reflection on the topic forming religious and missionary conscience. Religious life is a consecrated life. And Pope Francis says, “If the consecration is a celebration and the beauty of the consecration is the joy the celebration.” Religious life demands first of all clarity of focus. Religious life and mission go together. We can’t separate the religious life and mission.
On the second day, we began with the reflection on St. Francis de sales on the Self- Transformation. It involves three fold formations:
- Spiritual formation reflecting on the love of God
- Human formation reflecting on the love of self
- Missionary formation reflecting on the love of neighbour
In the evening, we reflected on Fr. Peter Marie Mermier’s views on religious life. Religious is a symbol of love command and his life is consecrated to God.
On the third and fourth day, we focused our reflection on the community life and vowed life. Consecration is as availability to God through community. Pope Francis says that community life is an invitation to wear God’s smile.
One note on each Vow:
Vow of Poverty involves two dimensions: Freedom from graving for possessions and Solidarity with the poor and the marginalized
Vow of Chastity involves two dimensions: To love God with an undivided heart and to love every one with Christ on love
Vow of Obedience: obedience opens up flexibility and it is the mark of identity of Jesus’ mission. There is twofold obedience: Necessary obedience to the Ecclesiastical Authorities and Voluntary obedience on one’s own choice
On the final day of the retreat, we focused on the theme Frontier mission which includes four things:
- Coming out of our own comfort zone
- Ministering to the most vulnerable of the society such as children, women and elders
- Extending the apostolates into new areas
- Being availability for foreign missions
We concluded the retreat with the most Holy Eucharist presided over by Rev. Fr. k. Ignacimuthu, the Provincial Superior of Southeast India province. Then we had a short felicitation program in which Fr. Provincial expressed his heartfelt thanks to the preachers of the Congregational Retreat and Fr. A. Christuraj proposed the formal vote of thanks.
Fr. S. Santhanam