A Tranquil Haven: The FSSP Men’s Vocational Retreat
Last June, a devoted group of young men started a transformative spiritual adventure. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) priests and seminarians in Guadalajara hosted the yearly Men’s Vocational Retreat, welcoming 15 attendees from across Mexico and a special guest from Ecuador.
A Journey of Silence, Prayer, and Reflection
After a quick orientation, the five-day retreat began with a powerful conference on sanctity, led by Father Kevin O’Neill, FSSP. Each day started with Lauds at dawn, followed by guided meditation and Mass. Activities such as conferences, Holy Hours, Rosaries, Vespers, and Compline filled the days, each designed to reveal different facets of the priestly vocation.
Spiritual & Personal Insights: One-on-One Reflections
As the retreat concluded, participants found heartfelt connections during one-on-one sessions with the priests. The encompassing silence touched their hearts and calmed their minds, allowing for deep self-reflection. The chance to meditate, discuss their aspirations and concerns, and experience the retreat’s sanctity opened their eyes. A seminarian assisting at the retreat shared:
"The silence was likely the thing that made the greatest impact. It allowed us to block out the world's noise, think more clearly, and hear God speak in His native tongue, silence."
Conference Highlights: Heartfelt Talks
Attendees appreciated the conference’s insights into the core of their calling. Father Javier Ruiz’s moving talk, “Mary, Mother of All Priests,” emphasized the bond between Mary’s devotion to priests and her motherly love for Saint John.
Discovering the Beauty of Sacrificial Love
However, the session that captivated their hearts concerned Catholic manhood, the unmatched elegance of sacrificial love, and the deep commitment within it. A retreatant shared:
“True love is about renunciation. It’s sacrificial, giving one's life for what one loves. What better example of this love than priestly celibacy, so often disparaged and misunderstood?”
Lasting Impressions: Priestly Devotion in Action
The retreatants admired the commitment, strength, and perseverance of the FSSP members. They found inspiration in the priests’ dedication to their divine mission of saving souls. An earnestly moved participant noted:
"The FSSP priests live with a fervent desire for holiness... their passionate spiritual life springs from a deep understanding and love for the Holy Mass and priesthood."
Undoubtedly, the retreat offered much more than a meaningful spiritual experience—it provided an opportunity for each participant to deeply explore his love for God, nurture his faith, and perhaps, uncover his true calling.