Community Preached Retreat

The Canadian Province of the Resurrectionists were privileged to have been on retreat last week (May 22 –26, 2023) at Resurrection College/Manor.  Our Retreat Director was Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB.  He is a priest in the Congregation of St. Basil (Basilian Fathers). He studied theology and Sacred Scripture at Regis College in the University of Toronto, the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem before serving as pastor and executive director of the Newman Centre Catholic Mission at the University of Toronto and lecturing in Scripture at the University of Toronto. He served as National Director and CEO of World Youth Day 2002, Toronto and most recently he was the CEO of Salt and Light Television.  Presently, he lives with his community and many other Religious Communities at Presentation Manor in Toronto.

The topic of the retreat was “Encounters with the Risen Lord”.  He introduced the retreat by writing: “To speak about Resurrection is never an event only in the remote past or in distant future reality. It is best understood in the living community we call Church. How do we experience the Risen Lord in our daily lives? What does it mean to proclaim the Resurrection in our day? There is no better place to encounter the Risen Lord than in the Resurrection narratives of the four Gospels. How can we to know Jesus better in the everyday of history (Mark); to live the Christian life within the community called Church (Matthew); to imitate Jesus in a meaningful life in our world (Luke); and to encounter Jesus in a deep, personal, loving, evolving relationship (John). Faced with the Risen Lord standing before us, our proclamation of his Resurrection must always be an invitation to Easter faith. How is our Easter faith these days? How do we encounter the Risen Lord in our consecrated life?”

He gave us 8 talks about the Paschal Mystery, focusing specifically on the Resurrections Narratives.

  • God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the Lord of life! – An introduction to the Resurrection Narratives and the distinctiveness of each because of the different writers, communities to whom they are writing and circumstances in which they found themselves.
  • Mark’s Resurrection Story: A Call to Discipleship – He explored the events of the Resurrection in Mark’s Gospel and his strong emphasis on Jesus forming disciples.
  • Matthew’s Resurrection Story: Fulfillment of the Promise to Be with Us – The Gospel begins with Emanuel – “God is with us” and it ends with the promise of Jesus to be with us until the end of the ages. Jesus is true to his word!
  • Luke’s Resurrection Story (chapter 24): A Symphony in Three Movements – “The first movement of this Easter symphony offers us the empty tomb narrative (24:1-12): God alone breaks open a hopeless situation. In the second movement of the Emmaus story (24:13-35), God, in the person of Jesus, accompanies people on their journeys through the ruins of despair and death. The stories of the third movement present Jesus among his disciples (24:36-53) and lead people into an experience of community at table.”
  • The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) & the Road to Gaza (Acts 8:25-40): Convergence of two pilgrimages of understanding – He explored how the Road to Emmaus story with the Risen Jesus and the two disciples has many similarities to the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.
  • John’s Resurrection Story (chapter 20): Meeting a God of Love and Mercy – We explored the account of Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb and finding it empty and running to tell the disciples. The story then unfolds with Peter and the Beloved Disciple running to the tomb and also finding it empty.  Then there is the beautiful encounter of Mary Magdalene with the Risen Lord. Finally, there is the story of the Risen Lord and Thomas.
  • John 21: Peter’s Rehabilitation and Ours – He explored the dynamic of the Risen Jesus and Peter and the forgiveness and reconciliation given to Peter.
  • Encountering the Risen Lord in Galilee and Jerusalem – He explored the importance of each location at the time of the writing of the Scriptures and now for us.

Each day Fr. Tom presided and preached at the Eucharist.  There was a beautiful Service of Healing where there was the opportunity for the Sacrament of the Sick and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The evening community meal was preceded by a fraternal time of gathering.  There was also an opportunity to view “In Her Footsteps: The Story of Kateri Tekakwitha” on Wednesday evening.

All in all it was a grace-filled experience for the Resurrectionist that attended and beyond a shadow of a doubt the graces of the retreat will continue to unfold for the participants in the days and weeks to come both personally and in their ministry.  The Congregation is very grateful to Fr. Tom for being with us this past week and sharing his joyful faith!