A Word from St. Mary's Pastor, Father Mark Goring

Why I like the New Life Retreat

I believe the New Life Retreat is God's idea. The Lord has touched a great many lives over the years through these retreats. Hundreds of people have discovered what it means to know that Jesus is Alive and offers his daily friendship to all who call on him in Faith. God is never outdone in his generosity. If we give him our time he will show us what a blessing it is to have fellowship with him. I consider the New Life Retreat to be a privileged place to hear the basic message of Jesus Christ and an opportunity to respond for the first time to the words of Jesus.

The retreat is also an excellent way for practicing Catholics, or those who are returning to the practice of the Catholic Faith, to renew their decision to follow Jesus and to receive his spiritual help to live a life of friendship with him in this life and to live daily in the light of his promise of Eternal Life.

The experience provides an opportunity for people to learn about the Holy Spirit. Many people try to live the Christian life by their own strength. This is not God's idea! He wants to fill us with his own Holy Spirit, to know true intimacy with him and to receive his love, direction, and strength daily. It is a great gift to have daily friendship with the Holy Spirit. God the Father makes his precious gift of the Holy Spirit available on every New Life Retreat weekend.

The New Life Retreat is also an important part of the life of St. Mary's Parish. If you want to understand the spiritual principles that St. Mary's parish is built upon, the New Life Retreat is for you. The message shared on this retreat is what I as pastor pray that all my parishioners would hear and respond to. This graced weekend is also an important way for new parishioners, or parishioners who don't really feel that St. Mary's is truly their spiritual family yet, to begin to make new friends with fellow parishioners who are both retreatants and retreat leaders. I believe it is essential for Catholics to have good Christian friends with whom they can meet regularly and discuss their spiritual life, study the teaching and life of Jesus and his Church and receive the support of the prayer of others. The retreat is an experience of what the Church is called to be.

Many people seek to build committed Christian relationships after the retreat by choosing to become committed to a Small Christian Community that meets weekly or biweekly in parishioners' homes. The New Life Retreat is the first step to joining one of our parish's Small Christian Communities and to deepen one's response to the call of Christ to "love one another" and to be better equipped to "go out to all the world and proclaim the Good News."

I am very grateful to God for the prayerful, loving and dedicated team that he has assembled to offer the New Life Retreat here at St. Mary's and beyond. They themselves are living examples of the power of Jesus to change human lives and to give us his Holy Spirit that we might have New Life everyday. I invite you to come to the retreat and see, hear and experience first-hand the love of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, poured out over the New Life Retreat weekend.

Fr. Mark Goring