Colombia: Retreat and Pentecost vigil at St Alphonsus Seminary


Andean-Caribbean Province, San Alfonso Seminary – Suba – Bogota

“O my God, until now, I have done nothing for you, who have done so much for me. My coldness could cause me to turn away from you. But, O Holy Spirit, warm what is cold. Deliver me from my lack of fervour and enkindle me with the desire to please you” (St. Alphonsus – Novena to the Holy Spirit).

On the eve of Pentecost, St. Alphonsus Seminary in Suba, Bogotá, organised a youth retreat. It was the occasion to deepen the theme around the feast of the coming of the Holy Spirit, with which the Easter season is solemnly concluded. From eight in the morning until five in the afternoon, the 12 young participants enjoyed recreational and formative encounters with the seminarians, invited lay people and the local community. In addition, there were moments of meditation and celebration of faith.

The speakers at the retreat were Fathers Oscar D. Báez C.Ss.R., rector of the San Alfonso University Foundation and Samuel Torres C.Ss.R., rector of St. Alphonsus Seminary, who addressed the participants on two themes: Redemptorist spirituality (especially the novena to the Holy Spirit of St. Alphonsus) and the feast of Pentecost for young people today.

Two young people beginning their vocational and discernment process in the Congregation joined this group of participants. The retreat concluded with the Holy Eucharist presided over by Fr. Edgar Alirio García C.Ss.R., parish priest of the Most Holy Redeemer in Suba. The young people were encouraged to participate in the Seminary’s other activities and prepare themselves for creating a Redemptorist youth ministry in the parish.

At the end of the retreat, the solemn Pentecost vigil was held in the church of the Most Holy Redeemer, now under construction. The vigil consisted of significant moments that revolved around this feast of the Holy Spirit. The parish community was welcomed with a series of musical animations by the St. Alphonsus Seminary choir, comprised of seminarians from the three countries of the Andean-Caribbean Unit: Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. This was followed by meditation on the seven gifts and prayer around a bonfire, symbolising the reviving force that illuminated the disciples before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Father Samuel Torres presided over the Eucharist. In his homily, he reminded the whole community present of the importance of letting the Holy Spirit act, even when it means changing our way of thinking or acting. The vigil concluded with a final blessing and a moment of praise and worship.

by Junior Dixon Alvarez