Br. Bob Roddy prepares to record a video.
By Friar Bob Roddy OFM Conv.
Like our parish communities, Retreat Centers have been hit especially hard by the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Our Franciscan Province sponsors three retreat centers: Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality at Mt. St. Francis, Indiana (“The Mount”), Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota (Prior Lake) and Holy Cross Retreat in Mesilla Park, New Mexico (“Mesilla Park”). Each of these Centers fills a vital niche for spiritual renewal and growth in their respective communities, and each Center has had to come up with creative responses to serve the spiritual and sometimes material needs of those in their communities. Each Center wrestled with the question,
“How to proclaim the Good News and be a beacon of hospitality and hope when we cannot safely welcome guests?”
Holy Cross Retreat Center, continued its long tradition of offering hospitality to individuals undergoing medical treatments in Las Cruces, while expanding their outreach to the homeless. Debbie Moore, Business Manager of Holy Cross, observed that the pandemic “made it clearer than ever how connected we all are to one another, how much we need each other, and how our actions or inactions affect others. …Talking to those who have been staying for medical reasons, opening our doors to two homeless persons needing a short stay, and having the time to talk to them without all the “business” of normal time has highlighted the blessing that a simple act of kindness can be in someone’s life.”
All three of our Retreat Centers have had to wrestle with significant losses of income during this time. All three directors expressed gratitude for the many solicited and unsolicited donations. “Some of our retreatants have even sent in their retreat offering for the overnight retreat they missed,” Br. Bob said, “and many have expressed concern for the well-being of the friars and lay staff. It’s very touching and humbling.”
Our Franciscan Retreat Centers continue to be beacons of hope and comfort during these challenging times by using the many new means to spread the Good News. All of our retreat leadership knows that more creative possibilities beckon as we seek to encourage and support all who seek a deeper relationship with God and one another.
We encourage you to visit our retreat center websites to learn more and participate in future online retreats and programs.