Friday, March 1, 2013

Single Day Retreat Agenda

My friends and I have begun the work of planning a women's retreat, and this is the agenda that came to me all at once as I was watching a chapter from the Catholicism series dealing with Mary and her role in salvation history. I thought I would share it for those parishes who might be interested in hosting a similar kind of activity:

8 am                     Breakfast
8:30                      Recitation of the Rosary
9 am                     Talk 1: Giving our Yes to God (The Annunciation)
9:30 am                Table Discussions
10 am                   Table Activity (create a cheer, poem, or song about the theme)
10:30 am              Talk 2: Carrying Christ to Others (The Visitation)
11:00 am              Table Discussions
11:30 am              Table Activity (make a poster about the theme)
12:00 pm              Lunch
1:00 pm                Talk 3: Giving Birth to Christ in Our Lives (The Nativity)
1:30 pm                Table Discussion
2:00 pm                Table Activity (do a short sketch about the theme)
2:30 pm                Talk 4: Purifying Ourselves of Sin (The Presentation)
3:00 pm                Confession & Adoration
4:30 pm                Talk 5: Seeking the Lord (The Finding in the Temple)
5:00 pm                Mass
6:00 pm                Dinner
7:00 pm                Dismissal

Obviously, this schedule can be rearranged to fit your parish's schedule.  It happens that in our parish, we have confessions on Saturdays beginning at 4 pm and then Mass immediately following at 5 pm, so this schedule allows us to include confession and Mass without requiring the priest to make too many adjustments to his own schedule or creating a conflict that would require outside help.  I did it this way because Elko is very isolated from other large towns and the chances of being able to find additional priests to help out during a retreat like this is very low.  

For the breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we will be calling on local parishioners who might be willing to help out by donating time and service to the activities.  We will also be asking the confirmation students who need service hours to help with babysitting and other behind-the-scenes tasks that will make the retreat possible.

If this seems long, it can be trimmed down or even broken into two parts and done on separate days.  The point is to give the women a chance to step away from serving their homes and families, to relax and just sit at the feet of Christ and let him minister to them for the 11 hours of the day so that they can, in turn, go back home refreshed and renewed and on fire for the Lord. 

While the retreat is designed specifically for a Catholic parish, it can also be arranged with slight variations to fit a protestant church.  You might not be comfortable, for instance, leading your congregation in a recitation of the rosary but each of the talks is based on an event from scripture and the relevance to the women at the retreat is just as real to them as it is to those who are Catholic. Where confession and adoration are, you might substitute a praise and worship mini-concert. Where the Mass is, substitute a partaking in the Lord's supper.  These are, of course, just suggestions. As with any "recipe", flavor to taste.

I hope you find this helpful. I know it came to me directly from the Holy Spirit, so I am giving freely to others what has been given to me. 

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