Report on Cenacolo Retreat Day, Maryvale Institute, Birmingham
Saturday 15 th October 2016
The retreat day this year was attended by 40 supporters representing groups in Liverpool, and which was great to see. The number was much higher than we feared with many apologies having been received this year. Nonetheless, the day was a great success and very much appreciated by everyone that came.
Maryvale again provided a beautiful and very spiritual setting for the day and during the afternoon we all processed together through the ‘Door of Mercy’ and with 3 Priests hearing Confession everyone was able to obtain the plenary indulgence in this holy year.
The programme began with Adoration at 10.15am and was followed by a talk on God’s Mercy by one of Maryvale’s resident Priests, Father Andrew, who spoke of God’s mercy at the heart of salvation history as revealed in sacred Scripture that in the Old Testament looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ. A history that was taken up by the Church which continues to make Christ present in the Sacraments and by means of the devotions that have been made known through the lives of the Saints.
Mass was offered for Massimo Poldo whose Ordination to the Priesthood was taking place on the same day in Saluzzo, Italy. Massimo was the 7th Priest to be ordained for the Cenacolo Community. The Homily by Deacon Daniel, touched on the spirituality of Saint Teresa of Avila who despite many obstacles, hardships and insults had brought reform to the Carmelite’s, embracing poverty and simplicity. Her greatest spiritual writing, the ‘Interior Castle’, was to express her own experiences of prayer – vocal, meditative and contemplative, and describes the journey of the soul through 7 mansions that brings us to the prayer of the child of God. In this, St Teresa of Lisieux, some 300 hundred years later, would develop this notion of spiritual childhood with a new clarity in her ‘Little Way’ spirituality. Teresa’s own work, written in a Year of Mercy in 1895, would sing eternally of ‘the mercies of the Lord’. Having declared her objective she proceeded to dedicate every word to Our Blessed Mother and then to turn to the Gospels for understanding and wisdom a pattern that we should all follow as we strive to work together in the Cenacolo family. It was here that she came to understand through the ‘book of nature’ that every soul, no matter if they were only a small Daisy or Violet was equally loved by God – ‘perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be’.
Following a banquet to feed a king, we joined together to sing the Divine Mercy Chaplet and to share in dialogue our many experiences of God’s mercy. For so many present this was caught up in the journey they had taken with either a son or a daughter entering the Cenacolo Community and bring freed from addiction. Encouragement was given to see this journey as a gift that could also be shared with others so that the life and work of the Cenacolo could be made known more widely.
Father Cornelius, from Cameroon, who joined us to assist in hearing Confessions said that we could begin to do this by simply being a witness of this grace to our neighbours – to be known to stand for this truth.
The final part of the day was our procession through the Door of Mercy and to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The overwhelming expression of those who attended (any many who had sent their apologies including those from Scotland) was to ask that we repeat this day again next year at Maryvale.
There are many loyal and hard working supporters, a group of ladies meet each week throughout the year and make nearly all the crafts to be sold in the shop. They attend the open days and some of them come up to Kendal beforehand to arrange the displays. Also the prayer groups throughout the country who continue praying for everyone. Thank you for your generous support.