The fire of the Holy Spirit is aflame at Holy Ghost Church in Houston. More than 50 people in the Young Adults ministry hosted a retreat for another 47 young adults. The retreat team started preparing for the retreat months in advance: meeting to organize, praying, fasting and spending hours of time before the Blessed Sacrament. They divided responsibilities for the retreat into different areas: environment (difficult in a gym), prayer, talks, dynamics and meals. Young adults planned and led the entire retreat.
They began with Eucharist at 5:30 am on a Saturday, followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament, Adoration and Exposition. Retreatants were welcomed and fed. Fr. Peter Voelker and Fr. José Chavez were available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As the day moved on, retreatants began to quiet down and become more reflective of what was being shared and said, as well as the message of some of the dynamics. Strangers were dropping their defences and participating more and more. The times for prayer became more profound and open. For some, it was the message of the dynamics, especially in regards to God’s love and mercy. A particular moment of encounter with Jesus was at the Holy Hour. One participant later shared that he kept thinking, “What would Jesus be doing there with them when He was so busy listening to so many other people in need all over the world?” That was until he looked at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and as he later described it, came “eye to eye” with Jesus and immediately felt the love and forgiveness of Jesus. This young man had had an encounter with the Lord. And so many others shared their experiences. The place was filled with the power, joy and love of the Holy Spirit. Everyone left with a spiritual experience that moved them to continue to live a life of conversion.
Since the retreat, many have joined our Young Adult group, “Aprendiedo a Vivir,” or “Learning to Live.” Others have returned to participate in other parish events. The Fire of the Holy Spirit is ever renewing the face of the earth.
José Chavez, C.Ss.R.