Lenten Day of Reflection
Lenten Day of Reflection
Brings people closer to God
By MELISSA BROWN
Even before Matthew Very was asked to facilitate a Lenten Day of Reflection, he was so intrigued that he had already signed up as an attendee.
Very says it’s difficult to slow down and step away from his busy life. The daylong retreat March 4 at Christ Our Shepherd Center, Greensburg, filtered the noise and gave him a chance to reflect solely on God.
The Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School technology teacher posed questions to 200 faithful from five parishes—Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, St. Paul and Our Lady of Grace, Greensburg, St. Bruno, South Greensburg, and St. Benedict, Marguerite—eager to develop a deeper prayer life and a closer relationship with Christ.
“Retreats provide an opportunity to take those few hours and very purposefully spend time with God,” said Very, a parishioner of St. Paul Parish for 29 years.
He said his group was eager to share on a deep level.
“They were ready to open up and share some vulnerabilities. Trust was established,” he said.
The day included opportunities for prayer, adoration and a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Bishop Larry J. Kulick celebrated Mass at the end of the day.
Organizer Monsignor James T. Gaston, Diocesan Director of Clergy Formation, said the group worked together for a “superb and wonderful day.” He praised the pastors and staffs for coming together and was impressed with the level of collaboration between parishes.
The Lenten Day of Reflection was part of a three-year Eucharistic Revival process initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to invite the faithful to reflect upon the mystery and meaning of the Eucharist in our lives.
Monsignor Gaston chose the story of Zacchaeus for discussion.
“It’s a wonderful story to break open how Jesus deals with all of the people in the Gospels who are fringe,” he said. “Zacchaeus represents all of the people in need of God’s help and salvation who are on the outside looking in. The way Jesus looks at Zacchaeus, the way he speaks to him, he wants to be close to him and invites himself to his house. It was a perfect story to illustrate the mercy of God.”
He also elaborated on how we are one body in Christ.
“The body of Christ is the Eucharistic Christ living in us and in the body which is what we call the Church, the body of Christ,” he said. “The body of Christ comes forward to receive the body of Christ to go out into the world to be the body of Christ. That is one of the best definitions of Eucharist I have heard.”
Attendee Mary McNamara, a parishioner of St. Bruno Parish, said when she was leaving Mass one day, Father Lawrence L. Manchas, pastor of St. Bruno and St. Paul parishes, told her to “enjoy Lent.” That got her attention. She realized she wanted to be closer to Jesus.
She also noted that she never really sang that much in church but has done so since because “I think Jesus likes it when I sing.”
Katie Zuzik, Pastoral Associate at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, thinks parishioners are ready for more regional events and finding ways to bring their Catholic community together into the bigger Church.
Father Manchas said the day’s events dug more deeply into our relationship with the Lord and what it means to be Catholic.
“We take what we experienced here back to our parishes,” he said. “I am so happy with the day and the way it turned out. I see it blossoming more … in the future through the Holy Spirit.”