After the last Mass on Sunday, September 24, church staff members drove down the coast for a two-day retreat in a home perched high above the Pacific Ocean and offered free of charge. Once everyone had unpacked and was settled in, the retreat began with a team-building exercise on the beach to see who could construct the best church sand castle. Afterwards, a fabulous dinner was prepared by Director of Music Ministry, Mario Balestrieri, and the evening concluded with the first session of the retreat.
The focus was how to apply the lessons of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Church, to the Saint Brendan Catholic community. Warren’s book begins with the premise that every church is called to follow Christ’s directives in the Great Commandment (to love God and neighbor) and in the Great Commission (to make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them all that Christ commanded). Out of these two instructions come the five specific purposes of every church to (i) pray together (love God), (ii) serve others in ministry (love neighbor), (iii) evangelize the unchurched (make disciples), (iv) connect believers in fellowship (through baptism), and (v) grow in faith together (teach Christ’s commandments).
Staff members gave presentations on each section of the book, followed by a brainstorming session. For example, Mario led the discussion on the section of the book devoted to music. As he said, “a lot of creative ideas came out of the retreat that probably wouldn’t have been considered if we hadn’t had the time and space to look at and discuss things in a different way as a team.”
The next morning, Father Roger’s inner drill sergeant came out and everyone was required to meet on the beach at dawn for another team-building activity. This time, the two teams competed in a fun relay race. After a breakfast cooked by Father Roger, everyone got down to business for an all-day session of brainstorming and discussion. Exhausted but still on fire with the Holy Spirit, the group piled into cars Monday evening for dinner at a local restaurant and then back to the retreat house for S’mores, where the group continued to discuss ideas among themselves.
Some of the ideas discussed included:
The retreat concluded on Tuesday morning with a Mass concelebrated by Father Roger and Father Pete. “The Gospel reading for the day was so appropriate,” said Parish Manager, Lisa Rosenlund, “in terms of the purpose of the retreat, which was to build up our church staff family, our Saint Brendan family, and God’s family outside Saint Brendan.”
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