Thursday, November 20, 2008

It was a cold, gray day in Chicago... Just kidding.

I had the pleasure of being able to set-aside a November Saturday and attend the Men's Retreat at a rather "secluded" location: the North Village Nature Center. Simply driving the road into the location, I knew that I'd be "tucked away" spending the day with God as well as "new friends,” and the day did not disappoint!

Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ was the presider, and upon my arrival, he and his team greeted each of us with warm handshakes, smiles and a table-full of goodies (coffee, Danishes, snacks) as well as a crackling fireplace! It was a very warm and relaxing setting from the start.

What followed was a morning and afternoon of talks and reflections (both group and individual), as well as prayerful meditations. Who could NOT use a day like this in today's troubled-times? It was soooo relaxing, and there was ample time for breaks as well as individual reflection in which, despite being a chilly-day, we were invited to walk the nature-trail along the grounds of the nature center (even spotted a few deer). I cannot WAIT to go back to the nature-center on my own time and take in more of the nature-setting. A delicious lunch was served as well.

Listening to the speakers throughout the day, I was reminded of how we all share the same "struggles" in our daily-lives, and that God truly is our common ground, though we all tend to "stray" in the business of our day-to-day lives. This day served as a quiet reminder that it's alright to "come back" and re-focus. At the day's conclusion, Fr. Michael presided over a simple mass.

Again, who could NOT use a day like this? Did I mention the taffy apples?
:) -Patrick H.

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