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In this issue
Alpha - Retreat at Loon Lake
Our Holy Week liturgies were fantastic! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped: the flower team and church decorators, the sacristans, the choirs, the altar servers, the Knights of Columbus, the Easter Brunch helpers, the lectors, the eucharistic ministers, the ushers, the RCIA team and the other workers. You are wonderful!
Stories from the newly Catechized
My entrance into the Catholic Church was a surreal and uplifting feeling. It was my first time attending an Easter vigil and not only was it moving but very spiritual. I'm looking forward to continuing in the Catholic faith and my family growing in the community.
The vigil was amazing. Lights off, candles, beautiful long scripture readings and a chance to participate at the altar. I was not baptised, but felt very touched and a genuine happiness in watching as the others were. I had many thoughts going on in my head, about how the heavens must have been rejoicing at that moment.
For me, I will never forget the anointing of the chrism oil on the forehead and the handshake Fr. Don offered afterwards, and lastly, the first communion of the bread of life, the Eucharist. It felt like receiving a long hug from a loved one not seen in a long time. My glasses could have used wiper blades by the time I was done.
Now as of Friday 22nd of April I am looking forward to Divine Mercy Sunday to find out what it is about, having heard much of it, and look forward to receiving communion daily for as long as the Father will have me, because I can attest to an immense difference this week, of feeling a constant presence of Jesus and Mary, and a desire to share that with others in my life, that they may be blessed as such themselves.
Prayerfully yours, Francisco.
On Saturday, April 9th, the participants and facilitators of the RCIA program gathered for a retreat. This retreat was the culmination of a half-year journey of preparation for the participants to enter the Catholic Church by being baptised and confirmed at the Easter Vigil. We had an engaging evening that started with a delicious dinner. Then our session included testimonies, some interactive activities and teachings on the Holy Spirit and what to expect during Holy Week. Overall, the participants were very engaged and asked many good questions along the way. The whole retreat was a blessing and one which we will remember fondly for a long time.
Alpha Retreat at Loon Lake
On a crisp and bright morning in early April, after carefully navigating a winding gravel road up to the mountain, Alpha leaders and participants arrived at the scenic Loon Lake Lodge for the much anticipated Holy Spirit retreat. Since it was the first time the four small online groups came together, we started out by playing a fun game to get to know each other. This resulted in much laughter and, at least for the day, participants became known to each other by their alliterating names as “neat Nethmal”, “hilarious Helena”, “caring Chantal” etc.
The retreat was shaped by several thought-provoking talks about the Holy Spirit: participants gained a deeper insight into His Person, His role and very importantly, how our lives can be filled with His gifts. After lunch, lively group discussions and much time spent in Spirit-filled prayer took place – strengthening the bond of
Christian friendship among the participants. The Holy Spirit was at work, despite an oversight with Father Don not being given the gate entry code (and he couldn't get it from us with no cell phone reception in the area). However, he still managed to join us on time to say the anticipated Palm Sunday Mass in the beautiful surroundings - the highlight of the day!
Delicious meals from the dining hall provided fuel for thought and time for socializing, and an invigorating walk down to the lake – even ferrying across the water by an adventure-minded few - added to the experience. Before heading home in the evening, the retreat wrapped up with everyone sharing their Alpha experiences and making plans to keep in touch. Praised be the Risen Lord for another successful Alpha journey at All Saints Parish!
Beatrix Santorelli - Alpha Coordinator