Almost two years ago I was invited to attend a one day retreat that the diocese had put together called Kerygma Encounter. When I first heard about this retreat I was excited about it, but a few weeks before I found out that some good friends of my wife and I were visiting from out of state on the same day as the retreat. I was seriously tempted to skip, but I had already committed and paid for it, so I felt bad backing out.
I’m glad I didn’t skip. This retreat, without exaggeration, changed my life.
The word “kerygma” is Greek for “the gospel” or “the good news.” That’s the focus of this retreat, to bring those attending to an encounter, both in mind and heart, with the central good news of our Catholic faith: God made us so that we may become God.
After this retreat I my Catholic faith and my relationship with God became exciting and new again. This retreat was a like a key that unlocked treasures I didn’t know existed. Everything, the Sacraments, the moral law, prayer etc, had a whole new life and meaning. It was like God revealed this secret about himself and his plan for my life.
Shortly after the Kerygma Encounter I knew I had encountered God there. The way I understood and taught others about Catholicism changed almost immediately. But the full meaning of what the Lord was doing with my life through this retreat continues to be revealed to me.
Several months after I went on the retreat I fell into a period of depression and spiritual desolation. For six months or so I felt distant from God, I was angry at God, I didn’t trust that he really cared about me and the suffering I was going through (the details of how God pulled me out of that is a longer story for a different time). As that season of desolation was fading I found out that the diocese was looking to train people to help lead these Kerygma Encounter retreats and I quickly signed up.
This past August I helped lead my first Kerygma retreat and I once again experienced God like I hadn't before. I felt alive with the Holy Spirit, like I was doing the exact thing he had created me to do. So I signed up to lead more retreats and I revamped Confirmation preparation and First Communion preparation to model the Kerygma Encounter. And I saw the Holy Spirit work through me and through these ministries.
Because of Kerygma Encounter I have a renewed and deeper love for God, a love that has overflowed into my personal life, my family, and my work. Right away I knew I wanted to bring this retreat here to MHT. So on Saturday, February 2nd, Monica Pope (a lay parish minister who helped create this retreat) and I will be presenting Kerygma Encounter in the activity center from 9:00am-3:30pm. This retreat will be free for parishioners and will include lunch. Please register on our website or call the parish office. If you’ve been thinking about attending one of the weekend parish adult retreats, this might be a great stepping stone since it’s only half a day. I really encourage you to come see what good news the Lord has to reveal to you.