Written by Mike Buckley & Jeannette Suflita
Brother Paul Murray welcomed 19 Associates and 20 Brothers to the Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, MD for the July 8-10 retreat. Participants from Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, DC, New York, Pennsylvania, New England, and Lithuania came together to pray, listen, re ect, discuss, re-connect and celebrate the “Graced Crossroads” of our lives. Each day began with prayer led by participants from the various regions. Prayerful readings included scriptural texts on mercy, the Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers, and excerpts from Pope Francis’ “On Care for Our Common Home” (Laudato Si).
Associate Kevin Shearer from Maryland opened the retreat by launching us into thoughtful sharing using as a starting point Micah 6:8: “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Our retreat facilitator Fr. Joe Nangle, O.F.M., known to the Brothers from his ministry in Latin America, linked the threefold requirement from Micah to the threefold commitment of Xaverian Associates: to commit to daily prayer, to nurture communion with the Brothers, and to serve the poor and marginalized. He graciously shared stories from his life about crossroads he faced in prayer, community, and service. After each presentation, we re ected on questions posed by Fr. Joe:
- How are we invited to a deeper relationship with God at the crossroads in our lives?
- How are we called to walk the road less travelled to strengthen relationships with others?
- How is the Spirit inviting us to choose a deeper sense of justice or a different outreach in service?
After reflection we met in small groups to share our insights and to dialogue with Fr. Joe about the challenges of these crossroads.
We celebrated a joyful Eucharistic Liturgy Saturday evening with Fr. Joe as presider, Chuck Belzner as homilist, and 3 students from Mt. St. Joseph High School leading us in song. Several additional Associates and Brothers from the area also joined us for Mass and to renew friendships over dinner.
On our last morning, Associate Jeannette Suflita engaged participants in a process designed to help us formulate plans for our next steps on the crossroads of prayer, community and service. The retreat formally ended with a Commitment and Renewal Service. We celebrated with Carolyn Shearer as she made her commitment as a new Associate. Each participant received a small wooden cross to remind us that we are companions on the cross/ road. Brothers and Associates left renewed and uplifted by the sharing, prayer, and commitment to walk faithfully the path of prayer, communion, and service.
Nearly forty Brothers and Associates gathered for a weekend retreat in Marriottsville, MD, led by Father Joe Nangle, O.F.M. This is the second Associates & Brothers Retreat of its kind. The last one was held in 2014 and they are likely to continue on a biannual basis. (Photos by Associate Vincent Maligno)
The Associates and Brothers in different regions meet throughout the year to support each other in friendship, prayer, and discussion about our commitment to service on behalf of the poor and marginalized. Currently there are 45 Associates in the program. Do you feel that the Xaverian Brothers have touched your life in some way? Are you a former student, parent, or friend of the Brothers, and would you like to continue that relationship?
Do you want to deepen Xaverian spirituality in your life? Do you feel called to serve the poor and marginalized? If yes, please consider the Associate Program. Contact Brother Paul Murray if you have questions or to receive more information.