February 26, 2010

Retreat can help make Lent more meaningful experience, priest says

By Mary Ann Wyand

To experience a more meaningful Lenten season, Father Jim Farrell said, set aside more time to spend with God.

Father Farrell also recommends scheduling a spiritual day of reflection or weekend retreat at one of the six retreat centers located in the archdiocese.

“In Indiana, northern Kentucky and western Ohio,” he said, “there are at least 22 Catholic retreat houses.”

The director of Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis said spiritual enrichment programs enable people to renew their focus on prayer and strengthen their relationship with God.

He said retreat participants often tell him that they have gained a deeper desire to grow in their faith and share their faith with others as well as practical ideas on how to do that.

“Sometimes we need a spark, a spiritual boost, to reawaken in us the desire to stay close to Christ, the desire to live our faith,” Father Farrell said. “Day or weekend retreat experiences give us time to separate ourselves from all the tangible stuff in life.”

The archdiocesan retreat center is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, he said, as a place for spiritual renewal set apart from the busyness of life where people can “come away and rest a while” with God.

“People need opportunities to get away from the routine of their lives in order to have some quality time for prayer at a place where there is silence and solitude,” Father Farrell said, “so they can grow in their relationship with God, deepen their understanding of their faith, and consider the challenges that Jesus offers them in the Gospel and how they can respond to them in their daily living.” †

Six retreat centers are located in archdiocese

Archabbey Guest House
Saint Meinrad Archabbey
200 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad

Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center
1402 Southern Ave., Beech Grove

Mother of the Redeemer Retreat Center
8220 W. State Road 48, Bloomington

Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality
101 St. Anthony Drive, Mount St. Francis

Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse
Olivia Hall, Oldenburg

Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House
5353 E. 56th St., Indianapolis

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