From the evening of Friday 12th June to the following Sunday afternoon St. Gregory the Great Ordinariate Church in Stoneham, MA, will be holding a Community Retreat at “The Holy Mountain” of Graymoor in Garrison, NY, which Fr. Jürgen Liias regards as the spiritual home of the Ordinariate.
Founded by Episcopalians Fr. Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White, the Franciscan orders of the Society of the Atonement were the first communities to be received corporately into communion with the See of Peter as long ago as 1909. The orders’ mission is to pray for Christian Unity and the world-wide Octave of Prayer was initiated by Fr. Paul.
The aim of the Community Retreat is to reflect on the current situation and mission of St. Gregory the Great Ordinariate Church and to make plans for the next steps on their journey of faith and evangelisation. This weekend Father Jürgen wrote the following letter to his parishioners and friends.
May 27th, 2015
Dear Members and Friends of Saint Gregory the Great,
Our parish retreat is just a few weeks away and I wanted to send a few thoughts to help us prepare for our time together. The primary purpose of this retreat is to seek the Lord’s Will and direction for our community and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to plan our future.
We have now been together as an “ecclesial fellowship” for over three years and, commencing upon my Ordination to the Catholic Priesthood, as an Eucharistic community for two years. We have had many wonderful moments of worship and fellowship during this time. Many have been touched by our Ministry and there is much for which we give thanks to God.
As we enter our fourth year I believe the challenge before us, if Saint Gregory the Great is to have a long-term future as a church, is to grow in numbers. This will be the underlying question behind our various topical discussions: for growth to occur what new directions might we take; what changes might we make; what needs to be strengthened?
During the retreat we will address these questions in four working sessions devoted to different areas of our corporate life:
– Our Sunday Mass: Time of service; Ordinariate liturgy; ceremonial; musical choices; homilies; length of service; worship space; logistics of set-up; fellowship hour.
– Special Liturgies: Festal Solemn High Masses; Requiems; Choral Evensongs; Tenebræ.
– Monthly Healing Mass.
• COMMUNITY LIFE
Fellowship; Education; Spiritual Formation; Governance; Finances
• EVANGELISM / OUTREACH
Gordon College Student Mass; Outreach to Anglicans, Episcopalians, and other Protestants; Social Mission; Fr. Liias’ Speaking Engagements; Our Website; Other Communications.
Benefits and Challenges of our current location; Should we move?
Possible sites for a new home.
I pray these sessions will be times of honest sharing, evaluation, brainstorming and planning — in all things maintaining a spirit of mutual encouragement and mutual submission towards each other as we seek the Will of the Lord together.
We rejoice that our Ordinary Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson will be with us: his unique perspective as the Ordinariate’s overseer will be invaluable in putting our challenges into context, allowing our discussions and decisions to be informed by the experience of our sister communities all over North America.
It is for this reason I have asked Monsignor to offer, as the first event of our retreat, An Overview of the Communities and Parishes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.
Our stay at Graymoor will include praying the Mass and Offices together and there will also be opportunities for personal prayer, rest, and recreation. I am attaching the proposed schedule for our time together.
A final, and most important, note addressed to those members and friends of our community who are not able to be with us physically at Graymoor: first, I earnestly bid your prayers for us both before and during our retreat. In addition, your input is most welcome, and will be especially valuable if it is received before June 12th. Please put your thoughts and suggestions in an email and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org ; they will be forwarded to me so I can consider them and will also be included in the appropriate sessions for discussion at Graymoor.
Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us! Saint Peter, pray for us!
Saint Gregory, pray for us! Father Paul Wattson, pray for us!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Reverend Jürgen Liias, Pastor, Saint Gregory the Great