Retreat #1 in Buffalo

As many of you know one of my favorite things to do is to lead retreats. So we started out small yesterday and did a one day retreat at St. Joseph’s. The team planned some awesome talks and I planned a reconciliation service and the parish had a bunch of different contemplation centers around the parish center as well.

A good time had by one and all. I was particularly taken by the level of sharing and introspection that these young people bring to their lives.

So we’re off to a good start. Next stop: a full weekend!

And if I go before ye, play this at my funeral…and remember all those who made a difference

This is from a 1997 tour of Ireland of the Notre Dame Folk Choir and it was their last song of the tour. I’m not a grad but I’ve always admired the student’s and their dedication to the liturgy. You can see the realization from some of the seniors that it’s all over–they won’t be singing together after this moment. Look at the faces of these young lads and see the exchanges of hugs and the hand holding and the tears shed. This is a Campus Minister’s dream to forge such a bond.

In many ways they bring me back to my own college days at Fordham when I was part of the Emmaus Retreat Team with their campus ministry. I’m beginning to put together retreat teams in Buffalo and I hope I can create a similar bond like the one that was created amongst my classmates. I can remember after leading a year’s worth of retreats (6 in total), that our student team members travelled up to our retreat house for one final evening together. We held hands as we prayed and sang and laughed and remembered a great year, a year that would not have been the same without the experience of being “on the road to Emmaus.”

While the miles separate me from many of those people, I’m in touch with almost all of them to this day. They clearly made a difference in my life as a Catholic, as a minister today and as someone who hopes to make a difference in the lives of others. I’ve been a retreat director for years and have had strong bonds with many of the team members but none could ever equal the kind of bond that we had that wonderful Senior Year of college at Fordham. It’s hard to equal the kind of bond we had living in close proximity and then sharing on such a deep level with one another.

Have you had a group like that in your life? A grouo that was so tightly connected that you almost couldn’t think of doing something without calling at least one of them and even today when you get back together with them, it is like the hours were few since you last got together. Who are those people in your life that touched you so deeply and brought you to that place where you realized that not only were you there with one another but you were there with Christ?

The Busted Halo Charis Sandwich Army

Come on out and take part in our next Busted Halo Charis Retreat which will have a service component. We’re calling it The Busted Halo Charis Sandwich Army. We do these retreats in conjunction with Charis Ministries –essentially we are their New York “affiliate.” They are an opportunity for people in their 20s and 30s to share their faith, hear about how others are expressing their faith and in this case perform a bit of service.

Here’s the details in a pinch:

When and Where: Saturday May 16
At Busted Halo HQ

Cost: $30

We’ll spend the morning making bag lunches (Hearty Sandwiches, fruit, juice box, candy bar) and decorating the bags for the homeless. We’ll then hit the streets of NYC and give away the meals to homeless men and women at various locations. We’ll return to BustedHalo Headquarters where we’ll have Mass and an opportunity to share your experience of the day with others and learn a bit about Catholic Social Teaching in a fun and interactive way.

Follow -up:
After the retreat we will ask the group to continue to give sandwiches away throughout the week and to share on our Facebook Page who they gave their sandwich to and what that experience was like and perhaps even where they have found God in the experience. Should be good reading and I’ll even share some of those experiences on this here blog with permission.

If you are interested in joining us: email me:

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