Lenten Retreat at Holy Cross Retreat Centre in Victoria
21 members from Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne gathered at the Holy Cross Retreat Centre for a Lenten Retreat organized by the Subpriory of the Immaculate Conception. The retreat ran from 28 February to 4 March 2023. A further 27 members from the South-Eastern Region joined on the last day for a Day of Reflection.
Rev Dr Kevin Lenehan, Master of Catholic Theological College and Magistral Chaplain of the Order of Malta provided direction for the first two days for members undertaking a five-day retreat in preparation for taking the Promise of Obedience, and Fr Frank O’Loughlin directed the next three days. Fr O’Loughlin is a renowned theologian, author and educator who has researched and taught in the areas of fundamental theology, sacramental theology and liturgy in the Archdiocese of Melbourne for the last 50 years.
Spiritual retreat is a time set apart to be in a quiet place of solitude with God. Such retreats remove us from noise and distraction so that we can enter a space where spiritual refreshing and renewal can occur. It is a way of entering into the presence of God and allowing Him to nourish our soul.
Prof David Kissane, Regent of the Subprory said, “Fr O’Loughlin spoke about how, in today’s secular world, our faith needs internal support to buttress it, especially the gifts of Jesus through His Eucharist and His Word in the Gospels. Christ’s new covenant offers countless moments of passover and conversion (metanoia), and His Eucharist takes us to His presence as we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection in the Mass. In very practical ways, Fr O’Loughlin encouraged us to be faithful to four things: 1) the teaching of the Gospels; 2) Christian fellowship; 3) the Eucharist; and 4) Prayer. His message was epitomised in the Order’s charism of Tuitio Fidei and Obsequium Puerperium: that we witness the faith and model it as we care for the sick and poor, as Blessed Fra’ Gerard did in his Hospital in Jerusalem. Attendees found the retreat to be both enriching and inspiring.”
Council member of the Subpriory, Lilian Antonelli, who coordinated this retreat, said It was a pleasure and it was a very special time to be part of this retreat. To rekindle ourselves with God and to help us through our journey in this difficult and changing time in our church.
Regional Hospitaller Margaret O’Donnell commented on the uplifting words of Fr O’Loughlin, and his insights into the Eucharist. One particular message from his reflection was that it is in the Eucharist, the Mass, that we discover our identity as Catholics; it is here that “we are called to be a community alive in Jesus”. It was an amazing experience to gather as members of the Order of Malta and to develop our relationship with Jesus and with each other during this season of Lent.