by Fr. Matthew Gamber, SJJ
I had the privilege of giving a “triduum” or three day, mini-retreat to the Residents of St. Joseph during the first week of Advent. Of course, the theme was Advent, with a special emphasis on “preparing a place for the Lord.” Each day we had a special Mass at 10:30 a.m. at which I gave a homily on the readings and on various themes for Lent. After Mass each day we offered the sacrament of Reconciliation and many Residents came to celebrate this great sacrament of mercy which is a perfect way to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas. In the afternoon at 2:30 p.m. I would offer a retreat reflection for about 20 to 30 minutes. We looked more closely at the readings for Advent and also discussed the life of Jeanne Jugan and St. Edmund Campion, S.J., whose feast day we celebrated during the retreat. They are two very different people, a French woman and a young English man who was a convert, but both became incredible saints through the strength of their faith and witness to Christ.
In the afternoon there was time to visit with the Residents of the infirmary and bring them Advent blessings. They were a warm and welcoming group. On the final day of the retreat we had the sacrament of the Sick administered during the Mass, and after Mass visited Residents in the infirmary to anoint them also. Each day concluded with a Holy Hour and the recitation of the rosary. The Blessed Mother was a big part of the retreat, as was St. Joseph and they truly made the retreat a wonderful blessing. Many of the Residents attended all or at least a good part of the retreat. Together we prepared a place for the Lord. Thanks to Mother Marguerite for inviting me to give the retreat. I loved giving it!