On Saturday 8 June, 60 members from various parishes of the Diocese, especially leaders who participated in animating their parish in the journey of Walking with Refugees and people seeking protection, gathered with Bishop Vincent for a Pentecost Retreat Day at the Mt Schoenstatt retreat centre in Mulgoa.
The Social Justice Office steering group animated the retreat in partnership with the Jesuit Refugee Service and Sydney Alliance.
On the eve of Pentecost, we came together for a time of prayer, inspiration and renewal as we reflected on walking the journey with people seeking protection. It was a time to listen to the Spirit and share our common faith along the journey.
The idea for the retreat came out of a shared journey with people seeking protection. We were listening to the spirit and our lived experience to see, judge and act for the way ahead. Our aim was to come away from the day with continued energy for the journey.
In prayer and conversation, participants shared their experience of solidarity with refugees, their reasons for action and for hope.
In our thoughts and prayers was the prophetic hope of Pentecost, considering that “the Church was born at Pentecost in the tight space between Hope and Fear and Forever lives in that liminal space.”
We began the retreat with a time of contemplative prayer in the ‘upper room at Pentecost.’ Each of the participants was given a listening book (Journal) to record and journal their reflections, thoughts and challenges of the day.
We were attentive to what disturbed and what consoled us and where were we called to action.
We listened attentively to the contribution of Bishop Vincent and the panel as they shared and responded to three questions:
- How your experience of seeking refuge has formed you?
- In the Spirit of Pentecost, what are the most important questions for you as a Christian and a leader in our Church right now?
- What gives you the strength for your mission? What is the source of your courage and hope?
Thanks especially to Bishop Vincent and all the leaders as we experienced a contemplative space as well as a depth of meaningful conversation through our shared journey, experiences and stories. We recognised that we are a community of pilgrim people on the same journey.
The next table talk is planned for Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton, on Sunday July 29 from 2pm to 4pm
For information on the next volunteer training to assist directly at House of Welcome or Jesuit Refugee Service, see the details on the Humanitarian Hub https://www.nswhumanitarianhub.org.au/