Successful Series of Retreats 2016
This year we decided to break away from the norm and began the annual retreats with the Men’s retreat instead of ending with it. Retreats ran every weekend from 10 June to 8 July 2016 and the theme for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, “Merciful like the Father”, was the main focus around which activities were centered.
The change this year proved to be vital in recreating a renewed excitement among the male membership. While numbers had been dwindling over the past few years , 2016 saw the largest number of male attendees in the history of the Sodality. The Diocesan Committee was particularly pleased by the men’s turnout as we had been concerned by the dropping numbers of attendees at previous men’s retreats. We drew great inspiration from this first retreat and we looked forward to the remaining four Women’s retreats with renewed energy and excitement. As is usual, the women maintained the high spiritual mood initiated by the men. The liturgies were all very vibrant and each Retreat Master delivered powerful life-changing and very inspirational homilies and teachings.
Another change this year was the display of the new Deanery flags instead of the parish banners. Deaneries were encouraged by the Diocesan Committee to create banners which ought to be displayed whenever they congregate as deaneries in an effort to harness unity among parishes and to give them a common identity.
Throughout the retreats, members enjoyed a weekend of real Sacred Heart Sodality spirituality filled with intense prayer, Holy Hour and Benediction, praise and worship and the occasional moments of reflective silence. In alignment with Year of Mercy teachings, the Sacrament of Confession was also made available to those who wished to go and many graces and healing abounded as a result.
The Father was truly merciful to us during these retreats. It is hoped that we all came away with a renewed faith in this mercy and the willingness to imitate that mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.