2 August 2012
A weekend full of prayer, good food – with time to have fun – was offered by this year’s Launch Out retreat for lay pastoral leaders.
Fr David Dowling, who led the retreat on the weekend of June 29, guided those of us attending through two days of reflection and prayer.
His quiet presence was a real blessing and it was obvious that he is at one with himself and comfortable with his priestly spirituality.
We gathered so many gems along the way and all of them will help as we journey towards becoming lay pastoral leaders.
We were urged to pray, with the words of John Paul II: ‘Mould my human perasonality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ.’
Another line that affected me was: ‘The image of a shepherd is so strong in Catholic teaching – someone who is with the flock, who cares and loves the sheep, who leads the flock first by being one of them, who serves them. The simplicity of life is what we need.’
It is the ability to love and to serve and to be fully part of the community we share that is important to us as lay pastoral leaders.
As John 10:10 puts it: ‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.’
Another beautiful link led to Romans 12:12: ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.’
Fr David used the word ‘ponder’ and I, too, find it a rich and satisfying word.
He had us ponder ‘Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people entertain angels without knowing it’ (Hebrews 13:2).
We have a great group with bonds that are building all the time. Thanks to our leader Joan McFetridge and her way of gentle persuasion and thoughtfulness.
Kia ora, dank je, go raibh maith agat, thank you!
Launch Out is 10 years old. Click here for more about the programme and its history.
Image: Back: Merrick Mitchell, Terry McAuliffe, Fiona Rammell, Joe Green, Dan Siave, David Wootton, Monica O’Connell, David Dowling, Chris Walkerdine. Front: Kevin Crighton, Patsy Buttle, Heather Sangster Smith, Joan McFetridge, Suzanne O’Rourke.