Forming missionary disciples

New Creation, an Easter retreat
New Creation, an Easter retreat

For the first time the Jesuits in Britain are offering an online audio retreat with a difference, for Eastertide.

“Walking with the Risen Christ – New Creation Retreat”, which offers daily scripture, reflections and music, is available to everyone on the Pathways to God website.  But alongside the online retreat material available to all, there is a programme designed for a group of thirty or so young adults who will meet face to face and share reflection in a “chat room” style online platform. 

The retreat is part of a developing ministry to promote and support young adults in their journey as missionary disciples, whose discipleship is formed and shaped by the central ideas of integral ecology as outlined in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.

Retreat Co-ordinator Fr Eddy Bermingham SJ, of the Stamford Hill community, explained: “This group is being invited to participate in the online audio retreat like everyone else. But in addition, they have three other resources available to them. Firstly, a Sharing Space, where they may share their retreat experiences online with each other. Secondly, a blog site will post a weekly video exploring themes from Laudato Si’.  Participants are invited to engage in discussion of these videos.  Finally, the group will be invited to two face-to-face meetings; one in the middle and one at the end of the retreat.  The first will enable people to be in the same room with those they have been sharing and discussing with online.  In the second meeting participants will review their retreat experience and ask where they feel they may be being led either individually or as a group.”

It is hoped that around 30 young adults aged 20-30 will be recruited through the Haringey Deanery via parish priests and networks.

Fr Eddy commented, “In every sense of the word this Eastertide retreat is a “pilot” venture. We don’t know yet how many young adults in the Haringey Deanery will participate, nor do we know how they will want to use the Sharing Space and the Blogsite.  And we don’t know if God will lead them to choose to continue after the retreat in some form or other. Sometimes though, you get a sense of God working with you in and through the many people who choose to collaborate with you.”

Fr Eddy and his colleagues acknowledged the help of many collaborators in developing the New Creation retreat: “In one sense we are breaking new ground, but we are finding the soil has been prepared already, the rocks and other obstacles to the furroughs we want to plough have already been removed by the sweat of other people’s brows.  For example, the retreat builds on the success and know-how of the Pray- as-you-Go team (the Jesuits’ online daily prayer podcast) and we rely heavily on the good will and the good work of priests in the Deanery.”