On a bright December morning the first 20 parishioners arrived at Grangehurst for an overnight retreat led by Fr. Philip. After being allocated their rooms they met in the comfortable lounge where they settled around a beautiful focal point which represented the themes of the retreat; so we saw the Advent wreath, candles, a rosary and a basket from which wheat seed were flowing out in abundance. Fr. Philip built on the content of the last retreat at Buckfast when parishioners looked in detail at Evangelii Gaudium. This time he challenged us to share the good news in practice.
On Tuesday morning the group were joined by another 20 parishioners in the Conference Centre for morning coffee, after which Fr Philip gave a PowerPoint presentation sprinkled with amusing pictures and cartoons. The group then settled to listen to Ronald Rolheiser’s excellent talk on ‘Bringing God’s consolation to a weary world’.
After a lively lunch together in Grangehurst Fr. Philip talked about the Parable of the Sower, and using a modern day parable from his experience of trying to buy the wheat seed, he talked about the Dominic Groups which will start after Christmas. His point, which had been introduced by Rolheiser in the morning session about ‘spreading the seed and not hoarding it’ was well made and physically demonstrated when he scattered handfuls over the surprised parishioners!
The two days went very quickly and provided much food for thought. Parishioners are now looking forward to the next retreat when they will be able to come for just the day, or have the option of staying for two nights in Southgate Retreat Centre at Buckfast (23 – 25 February 2015)