Portsmouth Diocese e-News

News from the Pre-Discipleship Team

The Great Story of Jesus - Retreat day in Fordingbridge



2nd April 2019


The preaching of the early Church was centred on the proclamation of Jesus Christ, with whom the Kingdom was identified with.


On 16th March, Richard Martin and Sr. Veronica OP from the newly established Pre-discipleship team led the first Retreat day to preach the proclamation of the Great Story of Jesus (The Kerygma). This day is part of the Ananais Resource, which this team has just launched in the Diocese helping people to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and to walk alongside others on their journey of faith. It has been produced by the St Catherine of Sienna Institute and is produced by Sherry Weddell and Katherine Coolidge who visited our Diocese last summer.


The day began with the celebration of a parish Mass with Canon Paul Townsend. It was good to see the faithfulness of his people who turned out at such an early hour on a Saturday morning. The first activity was to spend some time pondering with a Lectio exercise on the scripture passage from St Luke’s Gospel when Jesus asks his disciples and Peter in particular, “Who do people say I am?


During the morning people were shown how God has revealed himself in both the wonder of creation and in the person of Jesus Christ. People were led into times of reflection by watching some beautiful short video clips which helped them to know who Jesus is, how he has revealed the Kingdom of God to us through the Great Mystery of his Life, Passion Death, Resurrection, Ascension and finally pondering on how God’s love has been poured into our hearts today through the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Much time was spent in personal private reflection on the scriptures deepening our relationship with Jesus around these themes. It was good to just spend some silent time away from our busy world in the presence of Jesus especially as we meditated before the cross of Christ. Participants were invited to leave the names or needs they wanted to offer to God (Canon Paul Townsend offered up these intentions at the weekend Masses in Ringwood and Fordingbridge). 


After lunch the participants were invited to take up the personal challenge to follow Jesus more closely exploring how their personal sin can be a barrier to following Jesus and their need of his forgiveness. The core part of the afternoon was spent in a time of personal reflection on the challenges of responding to the call of Jesus. During this time there was an invitation to imitate the Apostles, who dropped their personal fishing nets on the seashore, as a sign of their commitment or renewed commitment to follow Jesus.


Everyone was invited into this New Life of Adoption to become part of the Body of Christ in the Church. As disciples, people were challenged to become active disciples in the Kingdom of God. As a sign of this commitment or renewed commitment, participants were invited to literally drop their nets on a specially created seashore scene. Three priests joined us during the afternoon to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sr. Veronica, Richard Martin and Deacon Hugh Parry were available, offering a listening ear and prayer ministry for those who so desired it.


The feed-back from this day was truly encouraging. So many people appreciated the time to be alone with the Lord and to really consider his calling to follow him and to share this journey with other parishioners. It gave much food for thought.


If your parish would like to have the opportunity to have a similar day led by the team please contact Clare Simpson the leader of the Pre-discipleship Team  csimpson@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk


We shall be running this retreat for all catechists in the Diocese on 8th June at St. Bede’s Basingstoke. Look out for further details in coming weeks.




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