The Lenten Retreat That Brought Tears
By Lorelie Autor
It was a time to pause from a fast-paced world. Others described it as a day of reflection, bringing some participants into tears. Couples for Christ (CFC) Bermuda held its 1st Annual Lenten Retreat last April 4, 2009 at the St. Theresa Cathedral Hall, conducted by Fr. Joseph Palubeski (Fr Joe), CFC Spiritual Director. The Lenten Retreat which was open to non-members of CFC was attended by 13 participants, including three invited guests.
The reflective atmosphere of the retreat was established with soft instrumental background music at the onset. Fr. Joe arranged a unique retreat setting by forming one intimate circular group with the participants. The opening talk of the Lenten Retreat was focused on Reconciliation, followed by an inner life reflection on, “Accepting yourself as a child of God.” Carmen Calaway, an Investment Advisor from California, was moved to tears when she described how she felt God’s presence in Bermuda. “I came in Bermuda not knowing anyone, however, because of the way CFC welcomed me especially Father Joe, I feel like I have a family here,” Carmen explained.
The second talk of the Lenten Retreat was about the Observance of the Holy Week. Fr. Joe explained the eight days of the Holy Week celebration -- Palm Sunday, Chrism or anointing of the Oil, Holy Thursday (Last Supper and washing of the feet), Good Friday (Crucifixion and death of Christ), Easter Sunday (Feast of the Resurrection of Christ) – which ends on Monday the day after Easter Sunday. The talk was followed by an inner life reflection on “Avoidance of all forms of self-rejection.”
The participants together with Fr. Joe shared a simple lunch with only bread and water (cake and juice were also served) since the Lenten Retreat was also a day of fasting. The last reflective talk was centered on the Resurrection of Christ. As Fr. Joe enlightened the participants on Christ’s resurrection, he also encouraged the participants’ willingness to claim their own identity in the community through the third inner life reflection which explains that “different people have different ways of being present in the community. One must find their true vocation in order to know how to move forward and fulfill his role in the community. God does not require what is beyond one’s ability. The community needs both one’s constant presence as well as one’s creative absence for his own personal nurturing.” The CFC Lenten Retreat was concluded with the sacrament of reconciliation being received by the participants.