Thursday, 7 January 2010


This weekend myself and my friend Mike had planned a retreat for our year group - about twenty of us who trained for ordination together. Sadly, we have had to postpone it because of the weather, took quite a bit of planning to get the speakers and sort the venue, meals and worship.

Started me thinking about the training and how priests are strongly encouraged to go on retreat each year.  A retreat can be pretty much anything that takes you away from the hubbub of life and gives the space to meet with God, or at least to meet with yourself. People sometimes have silent retreats or go away completely alone, or have speakers who provoke thought and discussion.

Our retreat involves the opportunity for late night drinking in the bar. Now you may not think this is very spiritual, but for many of us who trained together we felt the discussions into the night at the bar were the most valuable element. At these times we became more honest with ourselves and each other about our doubts, our hopes, our fears, our struggles. At these times our colleagues told us how they really saw us, and we grew up a little. I think this is what they call priestly formation, although I think it is not just for priests.

Retreats are not just for priests either. I would encourage everyone to make it a priority, to carve out some time and to find some space to retreat.

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