Thursday, May 14, 2009

request for input

Dear blogging pals and gals,

It turns out I am supposed to conduct a pre-ordination retreat here in about 3 weeks (48 hours in duration) for three men (two to be priested, one to be made deacon). I know one of them a little, the other two hardly at all.

I remember my own retreats fondly especially the first, in which I was one on one with the director.

But I have no assurance that what we did will be in any way suitable to these candidates.

If a pre-ordination retreat has been part of your experience, please, please tell me what went well, what worked, what was helpful -- and what WASN'T.

And you will greatly oblige...
the somewhat distraite Rambler.


Kathryn said...

My diaconal ordination retreat was one of the Great Experiences of My Life...the pre-priesting one was also good, despite the retreat conducter,who really wasn't that helpful. So the first thing to remember is that God will meet those people regardless, as they will be intentionally seeking him with all their hearts, and probably with more fervour than ever before. I guess one of the things that made ours was the community (there must have been at least 20 of us, combining priests and deacons both times) & the worship...Are you in a religious house where that will be facilitated by the ongoing worship of the community?
We had, I think, 3 addresses a day...First thing, after Morning Prayer, mid afternoon & Evening...We were in silence from the Evening address til lunch next day on each of the 3 days, but there was space to talk if you needed it in the afternoon...The amazing retreat took models of ministry from Herbert, Austin Farrer & (oh my Lord, I can't remember) was conducted by the seriously shiney Director of Ministry whose praises I've sung on the blog whenever i come across him, - & it was as much about how he WAS with us as what he said...
Also, opportunities for confession,for sacrament of healing & for footwashing helped tremendously...
Could send you the addresses but they wouldn't help, because it will be you as yourself that is the greatest gift to them...what you represent of priesthood, and of searching,...all of that.
It will be wonderful, for all of you.
And I'll pray. Of course I'll pray

Erin said...

wow - Kathryn's retreat sounds great! I'm afraid mine weren't memorable at all. Neither were set up with much intention. In fact my priesting ordination retreat was the regular diocesan clergy retreat.

The most helpful preparation for ordination I received was from my spiritual director at the time who introduced me to the work of Eugene Peterson, especially Under the Unpredictable Plant. I've returned over and over again to Peterson's comments about the dangers of trying to be either messiah or manager in ministry. He also had me meditate on 2nd Corinthians - he said he found it the most helpful letter on the pain of ministry and had given it to clergy in pain many times.