Archive for the ‘retreat’ Category

young adult retreat @ St Vincent DePaul Seminary

January 30, 2010 1 comment

First time ever, the seminarians at St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, FL led a retreat open for young adult of the Palm Beach Diocese.  I heard about it through my friends on FaceBook.  It was a Spirit-filled retreat … simple schedule … 3 seminarian testimonies … deep small group discussion … Benediction & Adoration … and lots of social time.

Even though I couldn’t stay for the whole retreat, I’m grateful to have been invited and grateful to see by brother seminarians at their finest at “home.”

Hopefully, with their great turnout, they can do more events to not only reach out to the community, but keep vocations on everyone’s minds and prayers!

See the Florida Catholic article that promoted the events.

Here’s some pictures I took of their beautiful chapel on campus:

clean heart for the old man

September 20, 2008 Leave a comment

We started a “Day of Recollection” silent retreat last night with one talk followed by a Holy Hour with Benediction, Adoration & Confession.  The leader of the retreat is Fr Oscar Alonzo, a wise religious priest who teaches at Cardinal Gibbons High School (among many other things).  Here are some notes I jotted down for reflection:

1. When plans change, take it as God’s providence.

2. “Through Him, with Him, and in Him …”

3.  Behind every great man is a great woman.

4.  Pray for a “clean heart” for the “old man.”

5.  Heart is driven by (1) power of love or (2) love of power.

6.  As we reflect on our vocational journey, identify WHO was an instrument of your vocation? 

7.  Use Scripture models: Abraham (Gen 12+), Moses (Ex 3), Isaiah (6), Jeremiah (1), and Mary (Luke 2)

Confirmation Retreat revisited

February 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Confirmation Retreat skitConfirmation Retreat skitBack at my home parish, the 8th grade Confirmation kids (some were my CCD kids from last year) had an evening of reflection as a follow-up to their 2-day Confirmation Retreat last month [my previous blog post about it].  The schedule was pretty simple.  After 6pm Mass (which I served at), pizza on the deck, a great skit (see pictures) about Jesus bridging the gap in the face of temptations, a personal witness talk by a teen, small group debrief (“What’s happened since the Retreat?”), and some large group reflections (that I couldn’t stay for) to close.  The kids definitely wanted to be there.  A great sign of their Confirmation journey.

Liga Orante + Little Flower + Big Cheese

January 19, 2008 Leave a comment

MASS – (Archbishop Favalora) — 11am Mass was a special occasion for Liga Orante, a Spanish group that supports & regularly prays for vocations.  They also presented the Archbishop with a $12,500 check for St John Vianney College Seminary (where I’m at).  Afterwards, we had lunch.  — I also served Mass as incense thurifer … not my best work

Little Flower ParishCONFIRMATION RETREAT — from 1-6pm, four of us seminarians (1 from Diocese of Orlando & 2 from St Petersburg) assisted a Confirmation retreat at Little Flower Parish in Miami (nearby).  Since the retreat was in progress since 8am, we walked in during a great talk by a young woman about chastity.  She also sang a song that she wrote at age 16 for her future husband.  [It reminded me of Rebecca St James’ song Wait For Me.]  Afterwards, talks on vocations started with a married couple, then a single woman, religious sisters and each of us seminarians shared our vocation journey to the 60+ eighth graders.  Then, visiting priest Fr Juan Carlos Paguaga (pastor of St John Bosco Parish) led an awesome adoration & benediction service that we served at.  To close the retreat, we had a lively 5pm Mass.

Big Cheese pizza, Miami, FLBig Cheese pizza, Miami, FLMIAMI SOCIAL — most of the Miami seminarians were at Immaculate Conception Parish in Hialeah.  Fr Francisco “Paco” Hernandez invited us all to their 5pm Mass and have dinner. 

BIG CHEESE — after the Confirmation Retreat, I joined some St Petersburg guys (from the retreat) at the Italian restaurant Big Cheese on a rainy evening.

Confirmation Retreat

January 12, 2008 6 comments

Today is day #2 of my parish Confirmation Retreat (it started last night) for the 8th grades of St Bernadette (both School & CCD).  Since most of the CCD kids were my students last year, I assisted with a few minor things.  The theme of the Holy Spirit was implimented with the popular LifeTeen format called “Fire & Ice” that is supposed to be a 3-day retreat, but it was a adapted to 2 long evening sessions.  Simply … it was awesome!  The parish hall was used for most activities with awesome decorations themed FIRE & ICE.  Most of the talks were done by former high school confirmandi of the parish.  The small group discussion were facilitated by peer ministers from local Archbishop McCarthy High School and the activites were a lot of fun (especially the “Human Pinata“).
Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Human Pinata @ Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Human Pinata @ Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Human Pinata @ Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL

The end of the retreat got pretty emotional, especially with Adoration/Benediction, a video from (below) featuring a skit at a Christian youth conference done to the Lifehouse song “Everything” (definitely moving), an altercall & open mic sharing, but everything affirmed the Holy Spirit moving in our lives preparing to affirm their commitment to the sacrament of Confirmation.

MorningStar Renewal Center

January 3, 2008 1 comment

MorningStar Renewal Center in Miami, FLOur 4-day silent retreat was at the beautiful MorningStar Renewal Center in Miami, FL (7275 SW 124th Street).  We were 60+ seminarians (2 per room) and very comfortable.  The place is run entirely by volunteers and the food was excellent.  Here are some pictures of the facilities & grounds. 
MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - parking lot MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Chapel MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Dining Room MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Dining Room  MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Lounge MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Overhang MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Bedroom MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - Bedroom MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds MorningStar Retreat Center, Miami, FL - grounds

4 day silent retreat

Tonight begins a 4 day silent retreat off-campus from the seminary at MorningStar Renewal Center in Miami.  I’ll be back Sunday afternoon.  Be blessed.  Be holy. 

Navy SEALs retreat

October 20, 2007 Leave a comment

St John Vianney College SeminaryToday’s silent retreat was led by Fr Peter, a Dominican priest from the New England area.  Using the analogy that seminary training is like Navy SEAL training, we had 5 sessions, each highlighting essential aspects of the priesthood.

Navy SEAL training1.  Holy Eucharist is the center of our lives.

2.  Virtues of “generosity & self-sacrifice” are essential for true “fatherhood.”

3.  Virtue of “truthfulness” must be lived and preached.

4.  “The sanctity & dignity of human life” must be preached, especially now.

5.  Our prayer life should include (1) the Blessed Sacrament and (2) a devotion to Mary.   

break over + retreat begins

October 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Tonight, I’m back in seminary … mid-semester break is over.  Tonight, we also begin a 3-day silent retreat until Sunday morning Mass.  Compline (night prayer) @ 10pm … got to go!  — Be holy!

silent retreat – fall in love

September 22, 2007 1 comment

St John Vianney College Seminary - Flat Palm areaToday finished our 24 hour “Day of Reflection” with a Vigil Mass at 4:30pm.  It was a “silent retreat” that helped us to “retreat” from our busy-ness and be “silent” to listen to what the Lord has to say.  Of all the 4 conferences, the line that stood out for me was a quote from the late Jesuit Superior General Fr Pedro Arrupe:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.

We must fall in love with Jesus Christ first … and that will decide everything else.

Last night’s rain storm filled our “Reflection Pond” enough for a beautiful picture of the entrance grounds.  I also spent some time reflecting in some beautiful outdoor areas around the main St Raphael Chapel.  (the pictures don’t do them justice)
St John Vianney College Seminary - Reflection Pool - from entrance St John Vianney College Seminary - Reflection Pool - facing entrance St John Vianney College Seminary - Palms area St John Vianney College Seminary - Palms area St John Vianney College Seminary - Pond w goldfish area St John Vianney College Seminary - Pond w goldfish area 

Y.E.S. Retreat video

September 1, 2007 Leave a comment

YES 2007 GroupI can’t seem to install my Pinnacle video editing software on my laptop to finish editing the Y.E.S. Retreat video.  I’ll have to finish it on break in October.  Sorry for the delay, everyone!

For status of the Y.E.S. Retreat video, the MASTER LIST of YES event links is HERE.

Gesu – Bayside – The Invasion

Gesu Church in downtown MiamiGesu Church in downtown Miami In order to give the returning men room to get settled, the new men took a social trip to downtown Miami via Metro-Rail.

GESU CHURCH — our first stop was 12:05pm Mass at Gesu Church in downtown Miami, the oldest church in the Miami area, established by the Jesuits.  It’s a beautiful church and the Mass was celebrated by Fr Michael & Fr Alvarez & (the pastor) Fr Alvarez.

BaysideDowntown MiamiBAYSIDE — afterwards, we walked to Bayside, had lunch and shopped for most of the afternoon.  We met at the “big tree,” saw the “One Man Band,” and walked by the “Torch of Friendship” that JFK had made with all the Latin American countries (except Cuba was missing?).  — it was hot 
Bayside tree Bayside - One Man Band Bayside - Torch of Friendship 

EVENING — since the returning men were starting their Day of Recollection retreat tonight, we were kindly asked to “leave the seminary” and not to come back before 11pm — nobody argued with that.  Most of us went to the Dolphin Mall to see a movie.  Since most of the movies we were interested in were sold out or at late times, I recommended (probably for the last time) “The Invasion,” an aweful movie choice.  I don’t expect anyone to take my suggestions after that one.  We still had a good time afterwards.  

Y.E.S. Retreat video

July 18, 2007 2 comments

YES 2007 GroupI just finished editing DAY #2 and added 42 more pictures!

For status of the Y.E.S. Retreat video, the MASTER LIST of YES event links is HERE.

YES pics available

YES 2007 groupYES 2007 elderlyYES 2007 elderlyFrancis (Broward Youth Coordinator) from the Miami Office of Youth has posted some pictures from the Y.E.S. Retreat a couple weeks ago.  All 11 pictures can be found here.  This is just a reminder to me to GET THE VIDEO DONE!  — Slacker

Categories: Miami Arch events, retreat

strength = weakness

June 15, 2007 5 comments

St. Thomas AquinasIn order to call yourself a true Christian, I think you need to honestly answer the question, “Do I trust God?” Many answer “NO” or avoid the question by hiding behind personal strengths or weaknesses. For example, if someone has great knowledge & intelect to debate various sides of an issue, the “strength” may become a substitute for faith, ultimately becoming a “weakness”. On the other side, the “weakness” of having limited knowledge may encourage more trust in God, resulting in a “strength.”

What brought this on? A teen on the YES Retreat challenged and humbled my lack of knowledge in the area of philosophy. His private school education and “independent” readings of Thomas Aquinas, Neitche and other philosophers got me lost in conversations at times. He even asked, “Can God create a rock that is so heavy that God could not move it?” Uhhhh … yes … no … yes? I don’t know. (if you’re reading this, I’d like an answer) My humility turned into a concern for his young (and growing) dependence on knowledge, that may cripple a faith in God if not balanced right. I know we each have a “void” we fill with our own comfortable “strength,” but some things make us “too smart for our own good” which pridefully answer the ultimate question with “NO.” — This is why I’m afraid of taking 2 years of philosophy.

YES video – “rip”

Today I started making room on a hard-drive for 80 GIG of space that I need to transfer (“rip”) from the camera to the computer. Each of the 4 tapes is 1.5 hours and take 20 GIG each. I ripped tape 2 & 4. The little that I watched looked good, not too shakey or dark. I did, however, forget to turn the camera off and times and recorded the floor (and my shoes) as I was walking (I hope there won’t be too much of that). The wheelchair races, Bishop Estevez, football and bingo looked good.  — This should be fun.

I’m back from Y.E.S.

The 5 day Y.E.S. service retreat ended today with a Mass at noon. When I offered to help chaperone and videotape, I didn’t think I’d get much footage since I didn’t know the kids and some teens feel nervous being videotaped. Well I don’t know where those “shy” kids are, because these teens could be great candidate for a whole season of “Big Brother.” They were so photogenic, that I have over 5 hours of raw video footage. Since I just let the camera run at time (like football & evening recaps) hoping to get a few usable clips, it’ll probably get cut down to an hour and maybe a short music video and/or individual profiles (collage of clips for each teen). It’s gonna be a lot of work, but it’s gonna be fun. — But first, let me get some sleep. (–“Sleepy”)

Review YES Retreat 2007

YES pics by Francis

The Youth Enjoying Service (Y.E.S.) Retreat is a 5 day (June 6-10th) service project experience for high school teens from all over the archdiocese of Miami.  It’s is held at the Madonna Retreat House in Hallendale.  This year had a small (but very lively) group of 12 teens.

This blog post will be the master directory of all the events & pictures from the video in case the locations change.  You can find most of the events on PAGE 3PAGE 4 of my archives, but the link to each event is below:

——————–  Day #1 / June 6 / Wednesday  ——————–
(evening) Welcome + “Human BINGO” + “4 Winds Blow” + Dinner (11 pics)
(talk) “Catholic Social Teaching” (4 pics) — by Gloria Luna

——————–  Day #2 / June 7 / Thursday  ——————–
(morning) Breakfast + Prayer + Leaving by Bus (3 pics)
(project) St Elizabeth Gardens arrival + games + lunch + BINGO (27 pics)
(dinner) “Class” Dinner (5 pics)
(talk“Immigration” (2 pics) — by Sr. Ondina Cortes
(eveningEnd of day sharing + making lunch (6 pics)

——————–  Day #3 / June 8 / Friday  ——————–
(morning) Breakfast + Prayer (? pics)
(project) Providence Place (? pics) — women’s shelter
(free time) S.W.A.T. training (? pics)
(talk) Monica Santos (? pics)

——————–  Day #4 / June 9 / Saturday  ——————–
(morning) Breakfast + Prayer (? pics)
(project) Daily Bread Food Bank (? pics) — food pantry
(free time) Football (? pics)
(talk) Convenant House (? pics) — shelter for runaway teens
(talk) “Eucharist” by Bishop Estevez (? pics) — a great surprise visit
(dinner) Dinner (? pics)
(service) Commissioning (? pics)
(nightime) Dancing? + “Mission Impossible” (? pics & 1 video)

——————–  Day #5 / June 10 / Sunday  ——————–
(morning) Breakfast + Prayer (? pics)
(closing) Closing Mass (? pics)

——————— STATUS  of  VIDEO  EDITING  ———————-

July 18 — finished day #2 (35 minutes) – “Class” dinner, immigration,
sharing, & making lunch
July 17 — working on day #2 – finished aerobicsBINGO (10 minutes)
July 03 — working on day #2 – finished wheelchair races (14 minutes)
June 29 — finished editing day #1 (7 minutes). See pics on PAGE 4 (middle).
June 28 — I found a 2 minute video clip on my memorystick.  See it here.
June 27 — added blog posts of retreat events (without pictures, yet)
Francis also posted pictures of the retreat on the Office of Youth website.

Y.E.S. D5: Closing Mass

To close day #5 of the Y.E.S. Retreat, families were invited to celebrate Mass.

[pictures coming soon]

NOTE:  MASTER LIST of all Y.E.S. events & video status HERE.

Y.E.S. D5: Breakfast & Prayer

Day #5 of the Y.E.S. Retreat had breakfast & opening prayer.

[pictures coming soon]

NOTE:  MASTER LIST of all Y.E.S. events & video status HERE.