Saturday, February 6, 2016

CRHP Weekend: My Brothers In Christ

This last weekend, January 30-31, 2016, my local parish, Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Colleyville, hosted their thirteenth "Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP)" men's retreat. The retreat is largely one of testimony, affirmation, mercy, and renewal. More than anything it's cathartic; for everybody involved. Six months ago I participated as a retreatant, one of roughly forty, and this time I would be just one of many assisting a new group of men as they sought renewal. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't to be touched more deeply than I had been in August.
What you aren't aware of going into the Renewal Weekend is that once you've participated as a retreatant you are given the opportunity to assist in facilitating the following Renewal Weekend for a whole new group of men searching for an authentic Christ experience. I was part of "CRHP 12" and my "brothers" and I would be putting on "CRHP 13." Knowing that our experience had been so absolutely transformative; we were all a bit daunted at the prospect of having the same impact on the men of "CRHP 13." The testimonies would be ours, as would the occasion for servitude. This servitude can take many shapes throughout the weekend, and the role of each of my brothers was absolutely crucial in making the weekend a success. Some were called to assist in the kitchen, others to sit with the men of "CRHP 13" as "Table Leaders", and all manner of support positions. The men telling their stories are called "Witnessers", and they give a "warts and all" account of their history and faith journey. While I had heard all of the witnesses prior to the retreat weekend, the power of the Holy Spirit to elevate those stories to a level transcendent in nature cannot be understated.
In addition to all of the spiritual and fraternal growth throughout the weekend (and the six months leading up to it), against all odds I was chosen to be the Lay Director. What this essentially means is that many many good men worked very hard to simulate the semblance of competence and leadership on my behalf. I got to be the mouthpiece for the men of CRHP 12 as they ushered the men of CRHP 13 on their spiritual journey. I am honored that my brothers allowed me to play such a crucial and daunting role. I love you all!