Dromantine April 2010
I have just come home from what was a most welcome retreat. It took place in the SMA House in Dromantine, Newry, Co. Down. Now for those of you who do not understand the need for 'time away' let's revisit the Gospel of Mark 6:31 where it states "And he said to them: Come apart into a desert place, and rest a little. For there were many coming and going: and they had not so much as time to eat." Something I think we can all ascribe to at times. For some reason I have been feeling especially busy over the past weeks in school and perhaps my business has also taken me away from staff interaction. So it was definitely a well placed retreat.
As a final gathering for this propaedeutic year the aspirants from the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, the Archdiocese of Dublin joined up with the aspirants from the Archdiocese of Armagh and Tyrone for what was to be a most enjoyable experience and one which had its immense emotional aspects too. The leader of the retreat was a Sister Pam Thimmes OSC who simply blew me away with the depth and breath of her immersion in God; a depth and breath in line with that of her knowledge of the Scriptures.
The theme of the retreat was 'Discerning your Vocation' and Sr Pam gave all but the first session which was given by the Abbot of Rostrevor, Dom Nolan OSB on the topic of prayer. He was obviously a deeply prayerful and spiritual man who alerted us as to why prayer should be given preference in our lives and how we could achieve that goal. He then led us through a slowly prayed and reflective Our Father before Night Prayer most of which he sung. That was beautiful. I always feel there is something missing from the recitation of the Office when there is no song, no hymn or chant. After all "He who sings prays twice over!"
I have to say for me there was a palpable air of finality throughout the weekend as this was the cumulation of a years discerning, and what a quick year it was. God only knows how many from all those men, who attended the retreat will stand to serve the Church in her mission and in her people. The great comfort is that some will, and the Church will be better for it.
Our assessment weekend is next in line and that will happen during the first weekend of May and the decision will be communicated to us probably half way during June.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!Fergal