Black Catholic retreat offers practical steps for growing in faith
By Aisha C. Young
Participants in the annual Black Catholic Retreat April 21-23 are pictured at Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House in Sedalia. (Photo courtesy of Aisha C. Young)
SEDALIA. The annual Black Catholic Retreat took place this year on April 21-23 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House, in Sedalia.
Father Chuck Wood was the retreat leader for our annual Black Catholic Retreat this year. Parishioners from both the Diocese of Colorado Springs and the Archdiocese of Denver were invited to attend. The diversity in age and ethnicity made this year’s retreat especially exciting.
Father Chuck was ordained over 20 years ago. Since 2013, he has been both the pastor at Sr. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Scappoose, Oregon, and the liaison for the English-speaking Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He is a member of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise, part of a lay ecumenical community whose members share community life and resources.
We were blessed to have him share his gifts and wisdom during this three-day journey. Father Chuck has incredible taste in music. We were exposed to Maverick City Music, Mission House Ministry, and the Worship Initiative. Additionally, he has an amazing sense of humor. He introduced us to the illustrations of Cuyler Black. Using humor during his presentation was a remarkable way to educate us about being transformed by God’s love.
He explained to us that we can all be transformed by God by “pivoting” the Mass. We should use Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to review the readings, collect, scripture, and antiphon for the upcoming Sunday Mass, Father Wood said.
We should use Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to reflect on the previous Mass. This will keep the words of the Lord on our minds, and we can readily apply the lessons being taught to us. Indeed, we must all do our part to be transformed.
Because of his interest in psychology and neuroscience, he discussed how our brains have been wired through evolution and that we need to create new patterns to truly transform our minds. Did you know that our brain is an organ that has no sense of time? That was a deeply fascinating session.
Participants went over the Surrender Novena, and learned how to customize it to our individual situations. This customization allows us to remain prayerful through any situation.
We also re-examined the Ash Wednesday readings about God’s merciful heart. Parishioners discussed and debated ways to be more mercy-minded. Because the retreat house is Jesuit, we could not conclude the event without discussing Ignatian Spirituality.
As a final segment, ethnogerontologist Aisha C. Young did a presentation about the history of Black Catholic elder care. She encouraged participants to complete Advance Directives, since statistically fewer African Americans participate in Advance Care Planning. Advance Directives are important for people of faith to know that their faith will be respected in their final days, Young said.
For more information on the Colorado Springs Council for Black Catholics, contact email@example.com.