This past Friday, the team preparing for the May 17-20, 2018, Cursillo had our overnight at Shalom House. Being back there always holds good memories for me as I was there for the last team on which I served in April 2014 as well as for each of the retreats we had during our Spiritual Direction Institute two-year course.
We didn’t have assigned rooms, so I plopped my things down in a front bedroom without knowing who would claim the other twin bed. While waiting for the rest of the team to arrive, I went and sat in the hammock, gazing up at the trees.
I thought about how I’d rather be an evergreen tree instead of the kind whose leaves fade, turn brown, wither, and fall to the ground. Having sustenance, being able to provide shade and beauty year-round seems more desirable. I know in reality my faith more closely resembles a deciduous tree. At times, there are little buds and leaves sprouting after a long, barren winter. During other periods, the leaves are full and green before they go out in a blaze of glory.
We had a delicious dinner of stuffed shells with meatballs that one of the team members who is on staff at Shalom House prepared. Dessert was angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. The food there is always very good!
The Reconciliation service we held in the living room of the house where we were staying. Fr. David Stanfill, who is one of the spiritual directors on our weekend, was there to hear confessions. He was joined by Fr. Alexander Muddu, who is the pastor of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Ladysmith. Another one of our spiritual directors, who is also our main man for music, Mike Walsh, played guitar throughout the service. Sometimes we would join in singing various hymns. We also read aloud a series of examination of conscience reflection questions.
Several people hadn’t finished their homework for the weekend, so they were up late talking, laughing, and hurriedly writing. I used the time to relax, journal, and draw. I rejoined the gang in the living room for a bit before turning in for the night.In the morning, we shared breakfast together and then did affirmations for each person. One of the ladies gave us her talk. Lunch was a Shalom House favorite: taco salad. Before heading out, our various groups had break-out planning sessions. I’m serving on the Liturgy team this time. I drove home feeling a deeper bond with the team and with greater anticipation and excitement for the upcoming Cursillo. Mission accomplished.