Warsaw Province of the Redemptorists organised seven retreat sessions in October and November at different times, to give as many confreres as possible the opportunity to participate in this form of ongoing formation.
This year’s last session of provincial retreats occurred from November 20 to 24, 2023, in Krakow, Poland. The retreat was led by Fr Krzysztof Bielinski, CSsR, professor at the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. The retreat was attended by more than 30 brothers from Poland and abroad, including those from the Krakow house. The theme was “Conquered by Christ Jesus (…) so that the life of God may be revealed”.
With great humility but also confidence, Fr Bielinski began our retreat. He reminded us that it is the Holy Spirit who guides us. The contents given are intended to be a help in our encounter with the Risen Christ. “Such is the retreat; such is the prayer of those who participate in it,” he reminded us daily. This is not to neglect responsibility but to emphasise strongly that our response to God’s invitation will determine the fruitfulness of this time.
Although the form of the retreat was not a rigorous lectio divina, we used some elements to put ourselves before the Lord and listen to his voice, calls, and exhortations, but also to experience a strengthening in our life and ministry. In this, we were undoubtedly helped by reflections based on passages from the letters of St Paul. The realities we touched upon were the righteousness of God in Rom 3:21-31, the attitudes of Christ the Redeemer according to the testimony of Phil 2:6-11 and 2 Cor 8:1-15, the mystery of dying “that the life of Jesus may also be manifested” revealed in 2 Cor 4:10-14.
The lecture with which we Redemptorist missionaries concluded our personal and communal reflection and prayer was entitled: How to strengthen and deepen a weakened faith in the ecclesial community? Directions from the Letter to the Hebrews.
The lectures, meditations and reflections also led us to fraternal meetings, which were an opportunity to share but also to be strengthened by the brothers’ reflections. They have been a time for in-depth conversation, seeking how to apply the truths we have discovered to our lives and to the pastoral ministries we carry out.
As participants, we are grateful to the retreat leader, Fr. Krzysztof Bieliński, to the Krakow community with the superior, Fr. Jacek Zdrzałek, and the bursar, Fr. Boguslaw Nawracaj, who provided the best conditions for this retreat.
Fr. Adam Dudek, CSsR