Thursday through Saturday, the Diocese of Panamá held a retreat for those discerning a call to ordained ministry. Eleven aspirants participated with our Formation Team of Bishop Murray, Rev. Canon Glenda McQueen, Canon Walter Smith, Rev. Canon Luis Cáceres, Rev. Stanny Joris and myself. The retreat was held at the Franciscan retreat center in Cermeño, just outside of Capíra, up in the hills. It was quite breezy but cool. I actually wore a sweatshirt at times as it was cold, or what passes for cold here.
Most of the work took place on Friday. Bishop Murray gave a talk on the "Vision and Mission of the Church" (I'm translating the titles from español); Padre Stanny gave a talk on the "Indications of an Authentic Vocation" and a talk on "House Churches", and I gave a talk on "Deaconate or Priesthood?". We said all the Daily Offices, and I played guitar for all the times singing was required. We had meetings by region to discuss the new model of ministry we will be using (I'll talk about that after Diocesan Convention), and on Saturday Padre Stanny presented the curriculum we'll be offering.
The center at which we stayed raised a lot of the fruit used for meals there and the grapefruits have ripened. I bought a huge bag of grapefruits for $3.00; the Lovely Mona will be eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice for weeks!
As I said earlier, it was cold, well, what we consider cold, and there was no hot water. Saturday morning as I was freezing in the shower, I was thinking about getting home to some warmer water. However, that was not to be; when I reached home the Lovely Mona told me that the water went off during the night and had yet to come on. It finally came on around 9:00 pm, which is good, as I was worried about Sunday morning; there was a chance that no one would be sitting in the front row if a shower had been missed!
Here are some photos.
The surrounding hills
El Bohío, where several session were held
Lunch room, where we also met when it rained
Interior of the small chapel
Flowers and fruit
Bishop Murray's opening talk
Revda Glenda leading an ice-breaking exercise
Table of yoots
Bishop Murray and Padre Stanny in conference
The group, except for Padre Mickey who was taking the photo, of course!