Holy Week Encounter in Melrose, Florida (USA), April 2-5, 2015.
A group of LHM and friends of the Home of the Mother gathered together in Swan Lake Camp in Melrose, FL to participate in the Holy Week Encounter from April 2-5. The theme for this year’s encounter was St. Teresa of Avila, as this year is the 500th anniversary of her birth.
The encounter began on Holy Thursday with Points of Meditation and midday prayer. After lunch, Laura Vorholt, LHM, gave the first talk about the life of St. Teresa of Avila and the Eucharist. After giving a brief biography on the life of St. Teresa, Laura talked about the Eucharist and how we as members of the Home and as faithful Catholics, need to grow in our love for the Eucharist. As Catholics, we know that Christ is in us when we receive Him during Mass. But Laura challenged us to question ourselves and reflect whether or not we are truly in Him when we receive Him. While life is full of distractions, we must make a constant effort to not only allow Christ to enter into our hearts, but we must enter into the mystery of His heart each time we receive Him. He enters into us and He wants us, but He wants us to enter into Him.
After Laura’s talk, we had team meetings, free time for prayer and confessions, followed by dinner. That evening we went to a nearby parish to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and then returned to the camp where we had turns of Adoration throughout the night to accompany the Lord during His Passion.
On Good Friday morning we had points of meditation, followed by time for personal prayer. Fr. Felix Lopez, SHM, gave the second talk on St. Teresa and the Humanity of Christ. Father talked about several crucial moments in the life of St. Teresa, and how Christ was always by her side throughout her entire life on earth. She fell in love with the very human person of Christ, and He became a living book for her as she meditated upon His passion. Father challenged each of us to grow in our spiritual lives by having a strong interior life where Christ is always present within us, no matter what is going on around us exteriorly.
Following Father’s talk, we prayed the Via Crucis and midday prayer, followed by the viewing of the movie, The Passion. Those who did not want to watch the movie had time for prayer and the Rosary. The day was spent in an attitude of recollection and quiet, and we tried to remain close to the Lord in His great sufferings. We celebrated the Lord’s Passion and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. That evening we went to bed with our hearts full of gratitude, asking the Lord how we could repay Him for His great love, and begging Our Blessed Mother to teach us how to look at her Son and to never grow indifferent to His love.
The morning of Holy Saturday we had Points of Meditation in which we meditated Our Lady of Sorrows, and the great silence of God’s mercy. After prayer, Sr. Megan Maria, SHM, gave the third talk about St. Teresa and prayers. Sister talked about the four different levels of prayer, as well as taught us about the fruits of prayer. She talked about the importance of being detached and staying out of idle gossip. She also taught us that the overall condition for prayer life is always love and generosity.
After Sister’s talk we had team meetings, followed by lunch, the Rosary, time for confessions and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then, we all gathered together and discussed the Home of the Mother. The Servant Brothers showed us an episode of Catholic Stuff, and we discussed many of the projects that the Home of the Mother is undertaking throughout different parts of the world.
That evening we went to St. John the Evangelist Parish to celebrate the Easter Vigil. We were filled with great joy at the Lord’s resurrection. Following the Vigil, we returned to the camp to enjoy fireworks, sweets and skits put on by the different teams.
On Sunday morning we had time for meditation to contemplate the joy of Christ’s resurrection, followed by Mass. After Mass each one had to return home, but we left feeling a strong desire for holiness and conversion! St. Teresa enkindled in each of us a desire to make a determined determination to become saints! We learned that the best way to do so was to live the virtue of charity to the extreme, as Christ Himself taught us to do.