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yHope Retreat November 2014

On November 14 through November 16, about 45 young adults gathered at the Daughters of Saint Paul Retreat House in Billerica, MA for the yHope 2014 retreat. The priests and spiritual leaders for this retreat were Fr. Michael Harrington and Fr. Ed Riley, two members of the Institute of Jesus The Priest. The theme was ‘Remind Me Who I Am.’

Everybody arrived early on Friday evening, got settled in the rooms and headed to the common area in St. Thecla’s Retrat House for the beginning of the activities, which started promptly at 8:00pm. Fr. Michael Harrington and Leiri Ruiz were in charge of the welcome and introduction. The retreatants were led in a series of warm-up games to get to know each other. They also formed small groups for the discussion periods that would take place throughout the weekend.

The music team set the atmosphere with beautiful praise and worship songs that got everyone on their feet, dancing and praising the Lord. The joy and excitement of the participants was evident since the very first day.

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Music team leading the participants in praise and worship

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The music during the entire weekend was outstanding!

The activities on Friday closed with night prayer, after which everyone went to rest in anticipation of the next day.

On Saturday morning, the participants gathered at 7:30am for Morning Prayer, followed by the Angelus and a warm, delicious breakfast. Fr. Michael took this opportunity to explain the devotion of the Angelus, a beautiful prayer recalling the Incarnation as the Word entered the World. The group prayed the Angelus before every meal, facing a replica of the famous ‘Angelus’ painting by Jean-Francois Millet, which hanged on the wall of the dining area.

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St. Thecla Retreat House on the morning of Saturday Nov. 15

The first conference was given by Fr. Carlos Suárez on the topic of prayer. Fr. Carlos reminded the retreatants to first and foremost recognize the infinite love of the Father for each human being, as the first step of prayer. He then stated: ‘God has never and will never give up on humanity. To cease to recognize this fact is to cease to truly live. Prayer is a relationship of LOVE.”

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Fr. Carlos Suárez giving his conference on Saturday morning

Following the conference, Sinisa Ubiparapovic shared with the group his witness and journey to becoming a seminarian, now in his fourth year of formation and soon to be ordained priest. Sinisa remarked: “Every one of us has a desire deep down in our beings for something infinite which can only be satisfied by God” and he continued “I’ve never had greater love for life, for people, for God than when I am doing His Will.”

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Sinisa Ubiparapovic sharing his testimony with the participants.

Next, the retreatants had some time for individual reflection and journaling, followed by small group discussion to share how God had spoken to each one of them during the retreat.

 

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Small group discussions

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After lunch, the group gathered at the Chapel for a Rosary and Daytime Prayer. The next hour and a half was free time, during which some of the participants enjoyed an afternoon walk or aftenoon nap, while others took the opportunity to write some affirmation notes to other retreatants.

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Mass was celebrated at 4:00pm, followed by dinner. After that, Bernadette Adamo gave her witness story on the topic of vocational discernment. Bernadette stressed that one of the most important things for discernment is to be at peace, knowing that every one of us is a child of God and absolutely nothing can change that. Bernadette shared with the participants how she met her husband and discerned her vocation to marry him after having surrender everything to God and letting Him take the lead of her life.

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Natalia, one of the participants, talking with Bernadette after her talk.

 

The second conference of the retreat was given by Sr. Martha Soza, who belongs to the congregation of Sisters Disciples of the Divine Master. The topic of the conference was the Eucharist. This talk beautifully led to the Eucharistic procession into the Chapel and Eucharistic Adoration. During this time, the participants had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.

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Sr. Marta giving the conference about of the Eucharist

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Participants placing their candles on the altar after the procession

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Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday night

Sunday morning, the participants got up early for Morning Prayer at 7:30am. After breakfast, they gathered at the Chapel for the last conference of the weekend. This was given by Fr. Ed Riley on the topic of discernment. Fr. Riley shared with the group insights on the discernment of spirits and how can we start to perceive the movements of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day lives.

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The last conference of the weekend given by Fr. Ed Riley

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Closing Mass – Fr. Michael Harrington was the main celebrant and Fr. Ed Riley was the co-celebrant

After lunch, the participants gathered in the main area for a sending prayer. They celebrated and gave thanks to the Lord for the many blessing bestowed upon them throughout the weekend, as they sang along the theme song: ‘Remind Me Who I Am.”

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Dancing and singing at the end of the retreat

 

For more individual pictures and a slideshow of the yHope retreat, click here. 

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  • "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" Gal 2:20