It would seem this whole year has just flown by at remarkable speed -- and this is no less true of this past April!
And of course, the greatest part of April was the Paschal Triduum - which was made all the more special by being able to share a bit of our lives and our Dominican liturgy and prayer life with a fantastic group of young women here on retreat with us! (Plus, the Triduum was a miraculous no-rain event this year! Amazing!)
Maundy Thursday - Procession to the Altar of Repose
Good Friday - Walk of Witness in Lyndhurst
Celebration of the Lord's Passion -- Behold the Wood of the Cross!
The Great Easter Vigil
And one of the greatest highlights of our Easter Vigil liturgy was being able to welcome a wonderful friend of our community, Samantha, into the Catholic Church! Samantha was confirmed and received Jesus for the first time in the Holy Eucharist -- and what a grace it was to be able to be a part of her amazing (and continuing) journey of faith!
Samantha is pictured here with Fr. Richard, and Sr. Michelle (her sponsor).
We give thanks to God for all the many graces received during these most sacred of days, and ask His continued blessings on all of us, especially the young ladies that were able to share these days with us. Please keep them in your prayers as well.
During the Easter Octave the priory goes into "shut down" mode, which is basically a time we set aside specifically for our community to spend extra time together. This means we generally don't have any scheduled apostolic works or guests in the house. It's a really beautiful time just to be with one another for some rest (we rise slightly later in the mornings - WONDERFUL!), relaxation, and extra recreation. Following the Octave, however, we're back in full "normal mode" operation -- waking up at the normal 5:45am and back to our regularly scheduled apostolates and works in and around the convent.
This past week we've been involved in catechetical formation events, and in particular, our Formation for Mission sub-group for First Holy Communion catechists held a Day for First Holy Communion Catechists, hosted by St Margaret Mary's in Park Gate. We were thrilled to have so many enthusiastic catechists (both first-timers and experienced) ready to give their all for Christ and the children they serve.
In the morning we had input from three of our Formation for Mission team members, a reflection on the Annunciation and catechetical pedagogy, and adult formation on the Holy Eucharist. Afterwards, there were two workshops (both led by members of our FFM subgroup), one of "What is a Catechist?" for first-timers, and another on Eucharistic Adoration for Children, as well as time given for all of us to share in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This was followed by lunch and then an introduction to a soon-to-be available resource specifically for those preparing for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion (Come Follow Me) -- we can't wait for it to be available from Redemptorist Publications in the autumn! Very exciting! To close out our day, Fr. John Cooke gave a very memorable reflection and testimony on his role as a parish priest and working with catechists and the families in his parish; this was certainly something many of us won't be forgetting anytime soon! (Thank you, Fr. John!) And finally, before being sent back into the vineyard of the Lord, we were blessed to have Holy Mass together! A great day indeed!