Friday, February 6, 2009

Western Bishops Retreat

Shortly after New Year's, the Bishops of Western Canada held their annual retreat at the Benedictine Abbey in Mission, BC.

This view from the Abbey window gives a little idea of the beauty of the setting, even though it was a typical winter day in British Columbia with lots of clouds and some rain. It was none the less somewhat warmer than in Regina!

The Abbey Church is also a beautiful and impressive place where the liturgy is celebrated throughout the day by the monks and their students.

Our retreat was directed by Archbishop Marcel Gervais, the Archbishop Emeritus of Ottawa. Archbishop Gervais has a wonderfully strong background in Holy Scripture, and we were both attentive
and enjoying his talks, which I found very positive and helpful.

I particularly enjoyed the time he spent on the stories of the Patriarchs in the books of Genesis and Exodus. The portrayal of God and the relationship that existed between God and the Chosen People of Israel is much more earthy than we might perhaps use today and give us a different insight into our God who loves us and is so patient and forgiving of our weaknesses and failures.

The monks also had a wonderful Christmas Cactus that was in full bloom in the monastery. With the rain in the background I found it a lovely reminder that amidst the clouds and dark days of life, the presence of Christ with and within is is always a bright and hopefilled promise.

In the middle is Fr. Mark Dumont, OSB, our Guestmaster and on his right is Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria.

During the retreat we celebrated some of the Liturgies with the Monastic Community and their students.

And we concluded the week by celebrating the Sunday Eucharist with them in their beautiful Monastery Church.

And here is the bunch of us, obviously happy with the time together with the Lord and with one another for this time of retreat.

No comments: