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Young Adults invited to "Hearts on Fire" Retreat

04/01/2013

As this Year of Faith continues, the Diocese of Gaylord is hosting a one-day retreat especially for young adults. Hearts on Fire is designed for young adults ages 18-39, single or married, to help them connect faith to every day life. The retreat will be facilitated by a team of Jesuit priests led by Father Phil Hurley, Young Adult Director at the Apostleship of Prayer, a ministry based in Milwaukee, WI, and is an effort to reinvigorate one of the hardest to reach sectors of the Church. The retreat will be held on Saturday, April 20, in the Cooney Conference Center at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Gaylord. The day will begin with sign in at 8:30 am and will conclude with a social at 8:30 pm.

Andrew Moe, Youth and Young Adult Minister for the Catholic Community of L’Arbre Croche and one of the young adults coordinating the retreat, noted today’s young adults face many challenges which also affects their role in the Church. “To be a young adult today is to be extraordinarily busy,” he said. “Society demands that you do more, be more, connect to more, [and] be a thousand places at once. It’s never enough.” Hearts on Fire will help young adults find ways to navigate through competing loves in life, including family, God, work and hobbies.

Centered on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Hearts on Fire encourages participants to explore a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. St. Ignatius’ practical approach to spirituality, embodied in the Apostleship of Prayer mission, focuses on deepening one’s personal relationship with God through daily prayer and by concentrating on how life and faith intertwine on a daily basis.

“It’s a way of bridging the gap that some people can… feel between their faith and when [they] go to Church and ‘how can I apply this at work, in my family, at school, with my friends? How do I make this real in daily life?’” Father Hurley recently explained during an interview with Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, on EWTN.

Through presentations, small groups, adoration, worship and even a coffee house social, Father Hurley and his team reach out to young adults in all walks of life. Realizing that “young adults have particular needs but also have a unique perspective to offer,” the team aims to make each participant’s experience personal and meaningful.

“Ignatian Spirituality is for everyone - single, married, religious - those searching for vocational direction and those deeply embracing the call to sanctity within their vocation. The Hearts on Fire retreat is an opportunity to allow our hearts to turn even more fully to the heart of Jesus - to hear His Voice, His Call, and receive His Love,” explained Liz Gengle, Youth Minister at St. Francis Xavier in Petoskey, who is also coordinating the retreat.

Moe added, “God is always calling us to simply live in His presence, but in the Year of Faith He strengthens His invitation to reorganize our priorities and decide what really matters, to choose which demands are worth our effort. The Hearts on Fire retreat will help us to discover the surprising truth that the unfulfilled desires, the dissatisfactions, the burdens and stresses they feel in life are fulfilled and relieved only in Jesus Christ.”

Joining Father Hurley in conducting the retreat will be young Jesuit priests and seminarians. Known as the Jesuit Mission Band, this group of young men travels with Father Hurley sharing their stories and journeys of faith, and as they are often the same age as the retreat participants, they find a special way of relating. Through funny anecdotes, serious stories, and pure honesty, the Jesuit Mission Band is a big hit with their crowd of peers.

Catholic musician Bryan Flynn will provide music throughout the day and at the coffee house social to conclude the retreat. Brian lives near Lansing, Michigan, and has been Director of Music at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Westphalia for the past 11 years. In addition to leading music at St. Mary’s, Brian provides music for conferences, retreats and concerts throughout the United States. He has released four albums and been featured on EWTN. Brian plays a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, organ as well as the tin whistle, accordion, drums, harmonica, and trumpet, as he weaves solid, Catholic teaching in a contemporary style.

“We really hope parents and church leaders will make a special effort to help us get the word out and encourage the young adults they know to consider joining us for the Hearts on Fire retreat,” Gengle added. “The comments from those who have attended in other dioceses have been so positive and this retreat will provide another great opportunity for young adults in our diocese to connect and support each other.”

Recognizing the importance of reaching out to our young adults and so that cost does not preclude young adults who would like to attend, several parishes are co-sponsoring the retreat with the diocese, including: St. Gabriel in Black River, St. Anne in Harrisville, St. Augustine in Hillman, Sacred Heart in Elk Rapids, St. Philip Neri in Empire, St. Wenceslaus in Gills Pier, St. Raphael in Mikado, St. Catherine in Ossineke, Immaculate Conception in Traverse City, and St. Patrick in Traverse City.

To learn more about Hearts on Fire or to register, go to the Apostleship of Prayer website.  A donation of $20 is requested, but not required, for the day which includes all activities and meals. Reconciliation opportunities will be available, as well as adoration and Mass. For more information or to register, contact Liz Gengle at 231.347.4133 or Andy Moe at 231.526.2017.