Silent Retreat 2010
Following the Christmas Vacation, the students at Mount Angel Seminary participate in an annual silent retreat. This year the silent retreat was held from January 4th – 8th. The days consist of meals in silence, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and Conferences. This year the Director of the Retreat was Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Bishop Flores pushed the students to examine their lives and model their vocations after St. Jean Vianney. In this article, a few students and a faculty member share their reflections on the retreat.
Grant Boggs, College 2
It is difficult to determine how a five day preached silent retreat will unfold for someone who has never experienced one. As a new college II seminarian for the Archdiocese of Seattle this difficulty was my reality. Despite my lack in retreat experience, I was very much excited to get started. The Retreat Director was the Most Reverend Daniel Ernest Flores, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. Bishop Flores provided a good retreat that focused on the mission of the priest.
Bishop Flores focused on the fact that the life of a seminarian and God willing a future priest must be a life striving for sanctity. A few things that Bishop Flores said that stood out to me were that a priest must be prayerful and adaptive, and his preaching must lead people to the Blessed Eucharist. Bishop Flores also pointed out that “fasting is the highest sign of the human race... we are the only ones who can look at a steak and say no because we love God... we can bypass what’s in front of us for love. We can postpone a desire for something unseen... fasting shows the dignity of man.” Bishop Flores goes further when he says, “The Deepest longing is to give oneself away” and that “Charity is a gift and the deepest longing of the human heart... we were made for the gift... we will be frustrated until we find the gift.”
I enjoyed the five day silent retreat because it provided time for me to become closer to the good Lord through the Conferences, holy hours, Catholic audio tapes, praying the Rosary, reading the Lives of the Saints, and meditating on the Gospels. All of this became easier for me because in silence God is able to speak to the heart. The ability to have this retreat in silence really nourished and strengthened my love and longing for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The retreat was prayerful, nourishing, and a great way to start the new year and new semester on our long road to sanctity.
Joseph Delka, Pre-Theology 1
I found the retreat to be a great opportunity to get my spiritual life in order. Sometimes, as I get caught up in my studies, it can be easy to forget the reason I am in the seminary. This retreat provided a great opportunity to reflect on my vocation and on where God is calling me, on the reason I am here. I was very impressed by the conferences given by His Excellency Bishop Flores. His love of the Word of God was at the center of everything he taught. Bishop Flores encouraged especially a careful and persistent reflection on the Gospels. For me personally, his conferences re-energized my own love of scripture and my desire to meditate on it often.
Jason Hiner, Theology 3
Our annual retreat at the beginning of the spring semester this year led by Bishop Flores was deeply nourishing for me as well as many seminarians in attendance. Of course the typical elements of the spring retreat – the silence, spiritual reading, long restful naps, peaceful walks, all fostering an ever deeper encounter with God – were very enriching. Much as I hate the withdrawal symptoms due to internet deprivation, like my hand twitching and eyes aching, I felt deeply at peace by the end of the week.
For arranging to have Bishop Flores lead the retreat, bless you Fr. Paperini and Fr. Paschal! What a genuine, classy, insightful, vastly intelligent, and holy example Bishop Flores was for us! His deep love of the scriptures and of the people of God was clearly evident and gloriously infectious. I’ll end this reflection with a word from our retreat master himself: “Reception and internalization of Scripture is the weapon for the next millennium.” From all of us in formation at Mount Angel, thank you Bishop Flores.
Fr. Ralph Recker, Formation Director
As a Formation Director, I’ve been asking each the seminarians about their reaction to the retreat administered by the Most Reverend Daniel Flores, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, the week of January 4th – 8th. Let me first say that the responses have been unanimously positive. All of the men were impressed and touched.
The first thing that was universally noted was the Bishop’s use of scripture to open each session. One of his themes was that ministry involved breathing forth the Word of God, and he offered a practical application of this in each conference.
The second thing that I found interesting about the student reactions, is that each seemed to take something different away from the retreat. It was as if each person had been at a different retreat. Somehow, he was able to speak to each person with a message that pertained to his particular situation in life. I personally kept nodding my head thinking, “Yep; that’s what I have experienced as a newly ordained priest.”
I think that this happened because the Bishop was preaching the universal message of the Gospel. By expounding upon the words of The Word, we all heard the message of love, service, and ministry, which is foundational to a priestly vocation.