|MYO retreatants. Abouna Jean and Abouna Jack are center.|
By Therese Touma
The Maronite Servants were able to participate in the MYO regional retreat for New England held on October 22-24 at the Wisdom Retreat House in Litchfield, Connecticut. Fr. Jean Younes (Danbury) and Fr. Jack Morrison (New Bedford) directed a dynamic group of 50 teens from several parishes, and were assisted by a great crew of adult advisors.
Speaking on the theme of the Theology of the Body, Dr. Allan Ramey, a Maronite, was the main presenter. Dr. Ramey is a member of St. Anthony’s in Lawrence and a dedicated father of eight children.
In his engaging talks, Dr. Ramey explained some of the teachings on Theology of the Body citing the work of Pope John Paul II. He directed his presentation to the challenges faced by teens, and how the Theology of the Body can help them to understand and seek their vocation “calling”, to either marriage, the priesthood or religious life.
Dr. Ramey beautifully pointed out that just as God created man and woman to become one flesh in matrimony and bring forth a child as a fruit of their love, God too is also here revealing to us something of his own inner life. In married life, we can see a reflection of the Trinitarian nature of God as love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I was inspired by Dr. Ramey’s sharing of his journey of faith. He witnessed how daily prayer, frequenting the mysteries (sacraments) and the attendance of at daily Liturgy have strengthened and sustained him throughout his life, especially in the difficult times. He inspired the teens and I to aim higher in knowing and living the virtues, in seeking good choices and staying close to the Mysteries of Penance and Eucharist.
On Saturday, the group visited Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Litchfield, and under the remarkably colored fall leaves, we prayed the outdoor Stations of the Cross led by Father Jack.
That evening, Fr. Vincent, Fr. Jack and Fr. Jean heard confessions in the chapel. This was an awesome way to conclude the day in thanksgiving, and in seeking and receiving the ever-flowing mercy of God.