Lenten retreat question: ‘Who are we in Christ?’

Diocese of Salt Lake City, UT

By Marie Mischel and published by the Intermountain Catholic

(Re-posted with permission)

HOLLADAY — When Father Ray John Marek, OMI, was contacted about giving this year’s diocesan Lenten retreat to the English-speaking community, he naturally asked what topic he should address. He was told to focus on the synod of synodality and Eucharistic renewal in the context of Lent.

Fr. Ray John Marek OMI leads the March 23, 2024 diocesan Lenten retreat. IC photo/Marie Mischel

“And I knew it was a lot to handle because on each of those things you could really wax eloquently for about a week on end,” Fr. Ray John said to appreciative laughter from those gathered for the retreat, held March 23 in St. Vincent de Paul Parish’s Holy Family Hall. The retreat in Spanish was given by Fr. Alfredo Basualdo.

Both the worldwide synod and the national Eucharistic revival have been big movements in the Church during the past few years, he said, and Lent also is a significant topic, but as he mused about tying them all together, he realized that all three center around the question of “Who are we in Christ?” he said.

Fr. Ray John is the director of the Lenox House of Spirituality in Oakland, Calif. He has given the diocesan Lenten retreat five times in the past 12 years; he also has made presentations to the lay ecclesiastical minster and permanent diaconate formation groups.

The retreat included sessions of silent reflection and small-group discussion as well as talks by Fr. Ray John.

Maria Velez Tuero speaks during the March 23, 2024 diocesan Lenten retreat led by Fr. Ray John Marek OMI (left). IC photo/Marie Mischel

The question of identity “as individuals, as a community of faith, as a church” and “a parallel question of how we are to be and what we are to be doing as people of faith is as old as the Bible itself,” from Adam and Eve to Israel wandering in the desert to Jesus being asked who he was to the disciples establishing the early Church, he said. “It is the same question Pope Francis asks of us: How are each one of us called to be missionary disciples – men and women whose lives and hearts are burning with the fire of God’s presence, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit … to move beyond our churches, our parishes into a world that needs to hear the Good News.”

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