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An Ordinariate Retreat Day for Advent
Sunday 15th November 2020

The shortening of the days brings the inevitable cry of “soon be Christmas!”, and the end of this month will usher us into the Church’s New Year as we begin the season of Advent. Those four weeks offer us a short but profound opportunity for reflection, but this can easily be lost in the activity and anxiety of Christmas preparations (perhaps less activity and more anxiety this year).

As we recall how different Lent and Easter were for us this year, many of us might already be wondering what this Advent will be like, and how we can keep Advent well in 2020. One traditional way has always been to take time out with a “quiet day”, “retreat day” or “day of recollection” when we can stop for a while and allow the beauty and solemnity of Advent to permeate our hearts and minds.

Even one day can give us enough spiritual resources to see us through the season and learn its lessons. Your own Ordinariate Group and parish will have their own plans for Advent, but here’s a chance to come together to relax, reflect and share your experiences with other Ordinariate members from all over the country.

The Ordinariate Vocations and Formation Committee invite you to take part in “Four Candles” — an Advent retreat day for Ordinariate members. It’s on Saturday 5th December from 11am to 4pm and will be held via Zoom.

No, don’t stop reading here! Just think: we’ve all been learning to use resources like Zoom, and what a blessing they have been in allowing us to connect with family and friends while we are unable to meet in person. And even when we’re able to gather freely again, there will be many people who must remain separated by distance, travel costs, health reasons or household commitments: we will surely have cause to be grateful for the new skills we’ve mastered for keeping in touch. And so this is an opportunity for members of smaller or far-flung Ordinariate Groups to share in a day together with friends old and new.

It is indeed good to go away to a beautiful retreat house in a lovely setting, where it seems easy to pray, but it’s often hard to “translate” what we receive there into the familiarity of our own everyday setting and routine. An at-home retreat can teach us to see more clearly “heaven in ordinary” and God in all things — but it requires discipline, especially if we’re on our own and have only some books or a website to guide us, and it’s not always easy to maintain the mood throughout the day.

An online retreat offers the best of both worlds: freedom from having to drive or catch trains, the company of others to share and support, and someone to offer guidance and suggestions to help your prayer. Of course, you have to provide your own coffee and tea (but I know of one Ordinariate Group who had to bring their own cups to an away-day!)
And fear not, you will not be spending five hours in front of your computer! There will be plenty of time off-screen to engage your physical senses: even space for a post-lunch rest. There will also be opportunities to converse in small groups, or one-to-one with the retreat guide if you wish.

If you want to know more, or to book a place and make sure you get the Zoom link, please contact Antonia Lynn at antonia.lynn@lcsd.org.uk

This article first appeared in the November issue of THE PORTAL.


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