Diocesan retreat reflects on Way of the Cross

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By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

An online diocesan Lenten retreat in which Catholics are invited to reflect on Jesus’ Way of the Cross will be held March 27 from 10 a.m. to noon from the comfort of home.
The retreat is open to adults in the Diocese of Davenport ages 18 and older and replaces the annual men’s and women’s retreats typically held during April, said Rosina Hendrickson, lifelong faith and lay ministry formation coordinator for the diocese.

Planning a retreat for 2021 with so many unknowns due to the pandemic inspired the online retreat offering. “I participated in this retreat last year on the Friday before Holy Week and it transformed my experience of both the Stations of the Cross and Holy Week,” Hendrickson said. “In addition, I was impressed with the way the platform and presenter were able to create a retreat feel, while I was sitting at my computer.”

Designed for the person in the pew, the retreat also provides a great opportunity for persons preparing to enter the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, she said. “All parishioners will benefit from this time together.”

The retreat offers a “fresh, new look at the Way of the Cross. We will enter into the Way of the Cross through the lens of the Book of Psalms, which is the prayer book that Jesus used during his time,” Hendrickson said. “The artwork that will accompany our retreat depicts contemporary settings of the Stations of the Cross from artist Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS.”

Retreat leader Michael Ruzicki is a parish minister and director of music at St. John Berchmans in Chicago and the training and events manager for Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago. “He has a love for parish ministry and sharing the Gospel with all he meets,” Hendrickson said. “His passion and enthusiasm come through in all that he does and it is tangible even in the virtual realm.”

Hendrickson has known Ruzicki professionally for about seven years. He presented a workshop on RCIA adapted for children at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City in 2019. He is one of three presenters for two virtual workshops on Evangelization and Catechesis that the Davenport Diocese has been offering from January to March this year.

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Ruzicki said, “Reflecting on the Way of the Cross is a way for us to consider our own life’s journey: the ways we fall, the adversaries we encounter, the friends who support us. Especially after this past year, if we truly want to celebrate the victory over the cross at Easter, we need to spend some time in prayer as we examine the sufferings and deaths that we have experienced. Jesus prayed the Psalms in his life and proclaimed them from his lips on the cross. I am looking forward to joining with the faithful from the Diocese of Davenport as we reflect the words of the Book of Psalms and how they serve as ‘a light for my path’ this Lent.”

The online Lenten retreat will use the program Adobe Connect to offer participants an interactive session “that is very reminiscent of a gathered retreat,” Hendrickson said.

Participants need to pre-register and have an online connection; no other preparation is required. No microphone or webcam are necessary. “Only the presenters will be visible or able to speak during the retreat.” For those accessing through a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone, the Adobe Connect app is required. Instructions will be provided prior to the retreat.

Hendrickson advises participants to find a quiet space for the retreat and “perhaps light a candle for this particular time.” Think about keeping a notepad or journal nearby. The retreat begins with opening prayer and a reflection. Participants will reflect on a series of discussion questions, with the opportunity to respond via written text. The platform allows for this discussion mode.

Participants can submit questions or get help with any technical issues throughout the retreat.

Cost is $20 per person prior to March 7 and $25 March 8-24. For more information, visit http://www.davenportdiocese.org/adult-retreat. To register online visit http://www.davenportdiocese.org/ff-retreat or contact hendrickson@davenportdiocese.org, (563) 888-4244.

“This past year has been challenging in many ways and during this season of Lent we are called once more to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate Easter,” Hendrickson said. “This retreat is a time for parishioners to step back and be present to God just before Holy Week and to walk the Way of the Cross with Christ”


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