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05.09.2020 15:23:48 82x read.
GHANA
2020 ANNUAL RETREAT: BROTHERS FIC, GHANA PROVINCE.

2020 ANNUAL RETREAT: BROTHERS FIC, GHANA PROVINCE.

DATE: 31ST AUGUST– 6TH SEPTEMBER, 2020.

THEME: CALLED TO RELIGIOUS LIFE

RETREAT PREACHER: BRO. NEE WAYO (HOLLY CROSS)

VENUE: ST.LOUIS COMMUNITY/ISTC, WA.

 

OPENING SESSION: 31ST AUGUST,2020.

Once again in many times, the Brothers FIC, Ghana Province, have yet another collective spiritual encounter, Annual Retreat, with a good number of thirty-nine participants, thus thirty-six Brothers and three Pre-Novices. Bro Isidore Aabeisie, gave a short prayer to begin the session at 7:30pm. The Vice Provincial Superior, Bro. Clement Aabezane Naapire (PhD), on behalf of the Provincial Superior and the entire PC, warmly welcomed members from the various communities. He entreated members to use this Holy period to earnestly pray for selves and family members, friends, fellow Brothers, and the FIC Leadership, particularly the Provincial Council of Ghana (PCG), to run the province in the footsteps of Christ. Bro. Clement went on to add that we continue to pray for our sick Brothers, particularly our ‘FIC Senior Citizens’ who have worked so hard for this Province since its inception. He further requested our prayer for an end-side to the devastating disease, COVID 19, which would go a long way to help us and the entire human race in glorifying God.

 

To put participants in the retreat mood, Bro Clement extoled the theme of the retreat thus: “Called to Religious Life”, and also the sub-theme as “The Call and Challenges of Religious Life in the Present Dispensation: The Role of the individual Brother”. He stated that the Preacher has sub-divided the theme into sub-topics for each day as follows:

  • Conference 1: Call to Religious Life
  • Conference 2: Religious Life
  • Conference 3: Challenges of Religious Life
  • Conference 4: Our Present Dispensation
  • Conference 5: The role of the individual Brother
  • Conference 6: A reflection on a biblical passage in relation to our topic.

 

Introduction/Experience of the Retreat Director

Speaking from the Vice Provincial Superior, the retreat Preacher, Rev. Bro. Nii Wayo (Holy Cross Congregation) is a well-known personality in our FIC circles. He is a psychologist, a Therapist and a Counselor. He is a renowned retreat Director/Preacher, and a seasoned Formator and Vocation Director for many years. Bro Nii is one of the pioneer staff members of ICF and presently the director of ICF. He teaches at St. Peter's Major Seminary in Cape Coast.


Practical issues

Three Pre- Novices were in our midst. They were invited to file in front for introduction to the Brothers. They are Mr. Sortuor Williams, Mr. Donnipuor Calistus and Mr.Baguovi Daanaah Peter. We also looked and adjusted the time table for the retreat. Other practical issues were equally noted for our attentions during the retreat.

The opening session ended well with a short prayer led by Bro Clovis Baaka at 8:40pm

 

Compiled by: Bro. Amatus Taalo

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DAY ONE (1): 2020 FIC ANNUAL RETREAT. Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

The first day of our annual retreat started with a beautiful cool weather and a serene environment suitable for Retreatants in their reflection.

The Retreatants began the day with the Lauds, followed by a delightful breakfast at 6:45am and 8:00am respectively. There was no Eucharistic celebration because the Priest did not turn up.

 

The conference of the day started at 9:00am.Rev. Bro Nii Wayo, the retreat preacher, started with a prayer by inviting the Holy Spirit to come into our midst and take control. The theme for the day was: "Our Call". He shared practical stories to illustrate how people gave a positive response, doubted or failed to respond to a call. What's this call then? He asked. He explained that it's an invitation to follow, to tune in with the mindset to the behaviours and characters of the one (Jesus) you decide to follow. It is a call to witness and to mission.

This Call, the Preacher continued, must therefore be heard, understood and responded appropriately. In our call, some do not understand, others have doubts, others too ask questions for clarifications while some respond but are living in their own world. The preacher then challenged Retreatants with this question: “How are you responding to your call?” He clarified that we must respond to our call, by being human, with our human limitations. He emphasized also that, in most cases our initial motivation to our call is certainly not the one that sustain us in our call but by the grace and faith in God.

 

Jesus Christ, the Preacher underscored, is a person of value. As witnesses of Jesus, we must be persons of value, and a person of value treats others with respect and dignity because he/she manifests what he has.  “Christ is full” he continued, and a person who's full does not make noise (An empty barron makes the loudest noise) but radiates the fruits of the Holy Spirit (i.e. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Truthfulness, Gentleness and Self- Control).

 

Still on the life of Christ, the awe-inspiring Preacher continued: “Jesus does not wear a mask. He portrays His true identity”. Hence, a person who wears a mask fails to reveal himself as a follower of Christ because he/she lives a pretentious life style. He added that, our call is not a onetime event, for God calls each day and we must constantly respond to it. In couple minutes, the practical illustrations of the Preacher on the theme moved the Retreatants into solemn reflections on their own call as he drew the curtains to the session.

After a break for personal reflections, mediations, lunch and rest, the Retreatants gathered again in the chapel for communal reflective exercise. To begin this spiritual exercise, the Preacher asked participants to take comfortable sitting positions. Each of us was asked to take in deep breath and exhale for three consecutive times. We were then moved into a reflective mood with a background melody, and guided questions from the Preacher as follows:

1. How was I called into the religious life?

2. Do I understand my call?

3. How am I responding to the invitation of my call?

4. Am I living out the true values of my call?

5. Do I listen to the voice of God in the depths of my heart or I'm listening to my own inner voices?

6.  What was my initial attraction to my call?

7. Am I full or empty?

8. Do I wear a mask?

9. Am I a person of value?

10. What are the human limitations that play my call?

11. How do these limitations affect my call?

The exercise lasted about eighteen minutes. We had our vespers and supper after some minutes. We then ended the day's activities with adoration to the Blessed Sacrament at 8:30pm. The day was well spent with the Lord.

Compiled by: Bro Amatus Taalo

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 DAY TWO: 2020 FIC ANNUAL RETREAT. September 2, 2020.

We began the second day of the recollection with communal prayers followed by Holy Eucharist. The mass was presided over by Fr. Martin. In his homily, he urged Brothers to always put aside our differences and live a common life. We should not behave like the people of Corinth who were fighting amount themselves, arguing about who belongs to Paul or Apollo.

A special prayer was said for Bro Patrick Naazie who marked his birthday on that particular day.

After the Holy Eucharist, we went for Breakfast and converged back to the chapel where we had the first section of the day. The day reflection was on the sub topic: “The call and challenges of religious life in this present dispensation’’   Basing his presentation on practical issues, the Preacher gave participants some five elements that are relevant for living an authentic religious life. These elements include:

Ø  Consistent prayerfulness

Ø  Affectionate support

Ø  Diligent labor

Ø  Leisurely present

Ø  Accurate perception and understanding   

These, according to him, are the characteristics that can guide us in our intent to living an authentic religious life.

The Retreatants took a break for lunch at 12:30; and after some few minutes of rest, they gathered in the chapel again to observe a communal reflection which was spiritually guided by the preacher.  At 5:30pm members had their bath followed by supper and adoration. Morning and evening came, and that was a beautiful day with the Lord for participants.

 

Compiled by: Bro Amatus Taalo

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Day Three of the Annual Retreat 2020

The day was marked with some light sporadic rains and a refreshing weather.

The retreatants began the day with lauds and the Eucharist. The first session of the day was under the sub-theme; “the challenges of religious life in the present dispensation”. The astute facilitator, Rev. Br. Bertrand Nii Wayo, CSC, in throwing light to the topic admitted that religious life in the contemporary world is plagued with innumerable challenges. For him, anything that causes agitation in the effort of the religious in living his religious life is a challenge. The challenges in religious life in his view are either caused by internal/self-inflicted factors or external factors. Some of the challenges he mentioned were the following:

Internal challenges

Ø  The religious’ own person- that is his human maturity and psychological equilibrium to dealing with emotional defects and manifestation of feelings towards opposite or same sex.

Ø  The vows- living the vows is itself a challenge to the totality of the human being who has a sexual, social, psychological, emotional, biological, intellectual and physical needs which need to be satisfied

External Challenges

Ø  Occultism is creeping into religious and priestly circles

Ø  Negative influence mostly of younger members by senior members in the regular community

Ø  Power or politicization of religious life

Ø  Homosexuality has gained notoriety in religious life and engulfed several religious in recent times

Ø  Money can lead one to arrogance and false image of power making religious live in a fool’s paradise

Ø  Alcohol gives a false sense of joy and commands you to obey its commands

Ø  Vehicles; religious are enslaved by cars which seem to give a sense of comfort to life yet cause animosities in communities

Ø  Relationships, especially religious who relate immorally with married women have broken a lot of marriages and families making people abandon the Catholic faith in for Jesus elsewhere

Ø  Travelling or exposure to the western world influences friendship and division among those who have been to Europe against those who have been to America.

 The preacher concluded by admonishing the treatants to not allow themselves to be directed by the world; rather, they should direct the world and all its forces. They should consciously live very simple life styles detached from material things. Above all, there should be good examples among senior members in the regular communities to influence younger ones from formation. It was observed that everyone was touched by the realities enumerated by the facilitator. Thus, the atmosphere was very quiet and reflective. The day ended with the Holy Rosary and a solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Recorded by: Br. Irenius Nimbare, FIC.

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