August 18, 2019 - Pastor Message09/20/2019
THE YEAR OF PRAYER PART 25: PARISH ALIVE
“I came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Our focus for the Year of Prayer during August is making a spiritual retreat. A powerful retreat that has nourished the spiritual lives of thousands of people in our diocese, and probably hundreds of thousands around the world, is making a Cursillo weekend. While more hardline Cursillistas (those who have made a Cursillo) will tell you that Cursillo is not a retreat, it has all the hallmarks of one, and I personally don’t see the harm in calling it a retreat.
A Cursillo is a three day retreat in which participants go away to a deserted place to experience a prayer filled crash course in Christianity. Cursillo, a Spanish term, literally translates to “little course,” and it is a great opportunity for any Christian to grow in his or her faith. I work a Cursillo every year, and I have personally seen and recognize the rich fruit it can bear in people’s lives. I encourage all who are able to make a Cursillo.
That said, I also recognize that some people may balk at the idea of giving up an entire weekend. It is a big investment of time, and not everyone is able to do it. One of the founding members, and the first spiritual director, of the Cursillo movement in our diocese, Father Tex Hilbert, also recognized this. So he created a modified form of the Cursillo that could be done at the parish level called Parish Alive.
Parish Alive is a two-day retreat that serves as a sort of introduction to the Cursillo experience. It takes what is already a short course in Christianity and boils it down to its most basic elements, all within the context of the parish community. It is run by parishioners, for parishioners, though others are of course welcome. Its primary goal is to fire up the spiritual life of the parish and, by that, strengthen our efforts as disciples of Christ to continue the mission of the Gospel in our area. It also builds up the bonds that unite us as parishioners by forming small Christian communities called Parish Alive Groups to support one another in living out the faith we share. Groups that were formed from last year’s Parish Alive continue to meet even today.
This year’s Parish Alive will be held Friday, September 13th, from 6:00 - 10:00 PM, and Saturday, September 14th, from 8:30 AM - 5:00 Mass. If you are interested, and I hope you are, please fill out and return an application found in the gathering space or contact the parish office for more information. All are welcome, even if you made Parish Alive last year. We can all use a new shot of the Holy Spirit, and Parish Alive can provide that. We hope to see you there!
Fr. Marc Stockton