“It was very uplifting,” Woodward said. “It made me aware that we are all in this together.”
The parish currently has about 300 seniors involved in the parish in a variety of ways. Many are involved in social justice programs, bible study and other ministries at the parish. The retreat was held to provide a time of reflection and spiritual growth for those active in ministry and others.
“We have seniors in quite a variety of ministries, but to sit down and discuss the notion of a spiritual journey and how to be an elder, that is new,” said Father Jack Barker, KCHS, pastor at St. Martha. “I’m very proud.”
The day included music and reflection, faith sharing sessions, a talk given by Father Raul Perez, parochial vicar at the parish, testimony given by Dr. Michael Mullen, a retired Lt. Col. in the United States Marine Corps and licensed clinical psychologist, and adoration.
“You are in a different stage of life, but you can still give life,” Fr. Perez said. “You give life in a smile and in spreading joy with your grandchildren, children, friends and neighbors.”
In his talk Fr. Perez invited the participants to embrace each stage of life and to reach out to other members of the community.
“It was interesting the way Father took the life of Jesus and related it to our lives,” said Charlotte Brown, a St. Martha parishioner. “I hadn’t thought of it in that way.”
A similar retreat was also held for the Spanish speaking community. The parish hopes to offer these retreats on an annual basis.
“I got so much out of this today,” said Ellie Fenstermaker, a St Martha parishioner. “It’s OK to age. It’s in your attitude. Are you going to leave joyfully?”