During my three years in Antioch, California, I became acquainted with an organization called Pan de Vida Retreats. Because many of the teens from Holy Rosary Parish participated in Pan de Vida, I was called upon to hear confessions and/or celebrate Mass during the annual retreat at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brentwood. I was impressed by the Pan de Vida program from the beginning. Aiming to help young people have a closer relationship with Jesus, the entire retreat takes place in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament sitting atop a wooden structure, alight with candles, styled "the burning bush." The creators of the Pan de Vida Retreat borrowed the format from the creators of the Youth 2000 Retreats with a desire to bring it to the young people of Northern California. Working primarily with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs), they built the retreat around a series of talks (given by priests and/or religious) intended to lead the young participants to a deeper understanding of their faith and an awareness of the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The model is simple - harness young energy and get them excited about the Church's teachings and liturgy.
Since I joined Western Dominican Preaching, I have been blessed to offer my services to Pan de Vida. Part of the success of the Retreat is the presence of a number of priests throughout the weekend to hear confessions. I have worked with the Franciscan Friars to split duty for teaching, preaching, and sacraments at retreats all over NorCal. In addition to the youth retreats, Pan de Vida also operates a marriage retreat called "Couples in Cana," following a similar format with the talks being focused on the theology of marriage. It has been enjoyable to participate in full weekends for both youth and couples.
Last weekend, more than 300 young people participated in Pan de Vida in Brentwood. Once again, it was a great blessing to work with a great Pan de Vida Team and 3 Franciscan Friars to provide a quality Retreat experience for those teens. You can learn more about Pan de Vida Retreats (including inquire about bringing it to your NorCal parish) here.
The Joyful Friar
These are the everyday musings and reflections from the life of Father Bart Hutcherson, OP, a Catholic Priest and Dominican Friar from the Western United States. I toyed with the idea of using the title "Ordinary Time" for this blog, but was afraid that people might be looking for deep liturgical reflections under that title. Nothing so sublime here - just the day-to-day. My friend, Carrie Rehak, suggested the title "The Everyday Mysteries." I love it. it captures my understanding of the everyday. God makes himself known in the everyday. I hope he reveals himself in some of these reflections too.