Holy Family Catholic Church completed its 10th Evangelization Retreat the weekend of March 25-27 at the parish campus in Orange.
Sixteen men and 20 women from Holy Family and nearby parishes gathered to spend the weekend encountering the Risen Christ and to focus on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives furthering to nurture the development of small faith communities.
In addition to spiritual guidance and support provided by parish clergy Fathers Patrick Moses, Rudy Alumam, Cheeyoon Chun and Deacon David Hernandez, a team of over 100 volunteers served over the weekend. Some worked as table leaders while others prepared meals in the kitchen, planned the liturgy, performed in the music ministry and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament in the adoration chapel during the entire duration of the retreat.
According to Holy Family Director of Evangelization Rebecca Soto, the retreat is “three days to reflect, renew and restore faith.”
“This weekend serves to refresh and replenish your faith, sharing the beauty of the Holy Spirit from the Sacraments of Initiation to Christian community focusing on the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.”
The first Evangelization Retreat was held in Mexico in 1978 and is based on the book Evangelization: God’s Love for Man, by Father Alfonso Navarro Castellanos, MSPS and translated into English by Sister Mary Rachel Moreno, CDP.
The weekend consisted of a series of speakers presenting personal testimonies about their own faith journeys. Each subsequent testimony builds upon the earlier talks and is intended to guide the retreatants as they continue their respective paths to conversion.
These testimonies were followed by small group discussions where retreatants discussed the talks and how they related to their own faith journeys with the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit.
“The first part of the weekend focused on the Gospel message and the Kerygma, that is, the Gospel (or “Good News”) proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ,” Soto said.
“As Catholics, we are often unaware of what is so good about the ‘Good News’ and how the Gospel applies to our lives today. By proclaiming each piece of the Kerygma and sharing examples of how God has been active in our lives, others are able to make the connection to how He is present and active in their own lives.”
Retreatant Gloria Briones gave high ratings to the speakers and their testimonies.
“All of the speakers were relevant to their respective topics,” she said. “They were very encouraging and brought hope to many.”
The next part of the weekend was about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit is an active part of our lives.
“By unpacking the promises God made to send His Holy Spirit and the ways in which the Holy Spirit is working, retreatants come to understand the Trinity, the Sacraments and their own role in the Church in new ways,” Soto explained.
A special Liturgy of Consecration was held on Saturday evening where retreatants were invited to call upon the Holy Spirit to offer themselves completely to Him, honoring Him, blessing Him and proclaiming His greatness.
“What a wonderful experience,” Alexandra Gomez said. “This is how one experiences God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Retreatants were able to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, pray in the adoration chapel and worship at Sunday Mass with the Holy Family parish community.
Carlos Ramirez is a Shepard, one of several table leaders that facilitates and moderates discussions following each of the talks.
“I attended my first retreat in 2005 at the urging of our parish priest at St. Irenaeus in Cypress, Fr. Patrick Moses (now pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church).
“I continue as a team leader because of a renewed faith and a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”
The next Evangelization Retreat is scheduled for Summer 2022. For more information, please contact Rebecca Soto at (714) 639-2900, or via email [email protected].