The parish’s contemplative progress continues to extend further and deeper on several fronts:
Semi-Annual Cistercian (Trappist) Retreats: 11 parishioners participated in a weekend silent retreat at Holy Cross Abbey, Berryville, VA in March. In addition, we have already completely reserved spaces for our next similar retreat in Berryville for Sept. 29-Oct. 1! After a warm conversation between our Father Joseph and Berryville’s Father Joseph, the abbot, we will continue to make Berryville our preferred parish retreat home to experience the Cistercian charism, at least twice a year.
Mepkin Abbey Contemplative Elders Directed Retreat, April 2024: Fr. Guerric Heckel, director of the Mepkin Abbey Retreat Center, has graciously offered to organize and welcome our parishioners for a special guided retreat along the theme of “Contemplative Elders” for the Monday-Friday span of April 22-26, 2024. We already have 11 interested parishioners out of 16 potential retreat rooms! For more information, or if you would like to consider experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime event, let parish staff know soon.
Contemplative Elders: This spring our group has explored the themes of: the numerous calls the soul receives over a lifetime, the 2022 series of Wednesday general audience talks on seniors by Pope Francis, and a contemplative consideration of evil through the lens of Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault.
Faithful to our patronage of St. Joseph, an exemplary dreamer, we are about to launch a contemplative dive into our dreams.
And, soon after, as part of our summer programming, we will take a deeper dive into the Trappist world by jointly reflecting on a work by St. Bernard, as suggested by Berryville Abbot Fr. Joseph.
Ongoing Contemplative Activity Open to All: Monday’s 9am and 6pm Lectio Divina sessions continue to be enlightening to participants; the Tuesday-Friday contemplative sessions are still open each evening at 6pm, followed by Vespers in Spanish. And on the first Sunday of the month, we hold a Contemplative Eucharist at 10am.
We are continuing to infuse contemplative practice in our faith formation and ongoing parish activities.
Our Lenten Book project had more than 70 participants, and on Easter Monday a small group shared highlights and spiritual insights from their Lenten reading.
A group of “JustFaith” participants from the Loyola Center in Morristown visited us April 29, and heard from our staff that contemplative life is the wellspring for our charity and justice activities.
On the horizon, South Carolina’s Mepkin Abbey is preparing to launch an Institute for Contemplative Leadership, to foster the experience of contemplative practice at a wider level. We’re looking to encourage a couple of our parishioners to apply for the inaugural leadership training formation program at Mepkin, so they can return to Bound Brook and start a contemplative pod within our community.