(Photo: John Pole, Crucifix of Saint Paul of the Cross)
I’m blogging from the Emmaus Retreat Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin, where this weekend we have our Passionist Youth Assembly, attended by young people from Ireland (north and south), Scotland and Paris. The Passionists present are Sister Maureen McNally, Fathers Charles Cross, Patrick Fitzgerald, Frank Keevins, Victor Donnelly and myself. The focus of the weekend is on living the Passionist Charism as young people today. This morning I gave a talk on Saint Paul of the Cross at the end of which I listed some things that helped the young Paul find his way in his life. These were: having good friends (family and companions); having someone to listen to him (including a spiritual director); reading the right books (especially the Bible); making mistakes (and learning from them); making a space for prayer in his life (including Eucharistic Adoration); having a real friendship with Jesus. In the feedback session, people added his experience of suffering and his devotion to Our Lady as things which helped Paul in his early adult years. (Here is the statue of Our Lady at Emmaus Retreat House:)
The other talks today were on Growing as a Passionist (Father Patrick) and the Passion of Christ in the four Gospels (given by Father Charles). Father Frank celebrated a votive Mass of Saint Paul of the Cross. As you can see below, Father Victor was in fine liturgical voice.
After supper, Sister Maureen let loose our creativity by putting us into groups and telling each group to draw a poster which said what the day was about. Poster paper and pencils were handed out.
Then we had to puzzle over what we were going to do.
This group got into a huddle…
…while this group decided to divide itself into artists and models (and the other two must be art critics).
After this, the groups had to exhibit – and explain – their posters.
This group looks as if it’s ready to answer any questions.
It was lots of fun and helped us see one another’s hidden talents. Afterwards, we brought the day to an end with Eucharistic Adoration, followed by musical teas!
The Assembly will finish tomorrow at lunchtime, after which I’ll be leaving for Melbourne and Sydney for a meeting of the Passionists’ international committee for the 2008 World Youth Day.