2014 Called to Communion RetreatJul 19th, 2014 | By Barrett Turner | Category: Blog Posts
Over the Fourth of July weekend, a number of Called to Communion contributors came together in Steubenville, OH, for a retreat partim spiritual renewal, partim business meeting, partim face-to-face fellowship.
Our retreat was hosted by Dr. Scott Hahn and some of the kind folks from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Rob Corzine and Suzanne Heaps. Many thanks to them for their hospitality and service! Contributors present for the retreat were David Anders, Tom Brown, Casey Chalk, Bryan Cross, Jason Kettinger, Josh Lim, Fred Nolte, and Barrett Turner. Joining us were revered guest contributors and commentators Michael Liccione and Ray Stamper. We were also privileged to have Jed Park with us, who was received into the Church two years ago and is an adelphos of David Anders. (Does that mean he is David’s sibling or cousin?) Many thanks also to Tom Brown for organizing and leading this retreat.
Tom Brown, Organizer
The way Dr. Liccione folds his hands on his belly is hilarious.
In large part, these annual retreats have been a blessing for us because we see one another in the flesh, a fitting incarnation of our online friendship and unified activity here at Called to Communion. Our first retreat was in New Orleans, the past two in Steubenville. Each retreat has been a time for prayer, catching up with one another, and planning the future of the blog.
The retreat afforded us time in prayer together in the presence of the Lord Jesus. We prayed the evening and morning offices, praising and imploring the Most High using the Psalms, canticles from the mouths of the Blessed Virgin and St. Zechariah, short Scripture readings, and other hymns and songs. On Saturday, we participated together in Holy Mass, said by Fr. Jonas Shell of St. Peter’s in Steubenville. To be gathered around the New Testament in His Blood, to be nurtured upon the Sacrifice that makes our peace with God, was the highlight of the trip. We had the opportunity to do so again on Sunday morning at historic St. Peter’s in Steubenville. The devotion of the parishioners and the beauty of the Church were of great help in lifting up our hearts to God. As far as our own sacrifices, well, we gave up watching the Argentina-Belgium and Netherlands-Costa Rica matches to be in Steubenville by Friday evening…
Josh Lim and Fr. Shell
Naturally, cloistering well-read laymen enthusiastic about theology in a house led to wide-ranging conversations, more often than not somehow instigated by the intellect of Dr. Liccione. These included discussions of about the creation of man, his elevation in grace, and evolution; necessity in God and in creation; and listening to Josh Lim discuss his thesis on created and uncreated grace in St. Thomas, St. Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas. We also grew closer together by sharing stories about God’s goodness in our lives, including spiritual testimonies about our journeys to full communion with the Catholic Church. Other conversations discussed Eucharistic adoration as an avenue of conversion and the potential of each person for the three stages of the spiritual life. Dr. Hahn was kind enough to join us for some meals and to add to the discussion by asking questions and listening to us. He spoke to us on Saturday night about the New Covenant and about the love of Mary.
On Saturday we were able to discuss our activities here at Called to Communion. We had a presentation on the practices necessary for internet dialogue, as well as the dangers of the same. Our afternoon business meeting yielded exciting plans for the next year. We hope to post more on the Catholic spiritual life, as well as bring back writings emphasizing common doctrinal and practical elements between the Catholic Church and the Reformed tradition.
We also had time for being together as brothers. We shared some wonderful meals prepared by Rob and Suzanne. We talked late into the night over drinks. In the name of unity, some gentlemen brought bourbon to stave off a looming schism over Irish versus Scotch whisky. Two men found a canoe and paddled out into the lake. Others threw the baseball around, some went running, all enjoyed each other. The isolation of the place gave us a beautiful night sky filled with stars and a bright crescent moon.
You don’t think you’re wearing that to Mass, do you?
On Sunday after Mass, we had the opportunity to see the new location of the St. Paul Center on the campus of Franciscan University, where Dr. Hahn is a professor. After lunch and some very interesting discussion regarding Scripture, the concept of “covenant”, and theology, we paused for a group photograph and headed our separate ways. The weekend was too quickly over, but our time together was a well-spent retreat.