Preparing their hearts for Lent, about 56 women gathered in Marian Hall over the weekend for the IC Women’s Retreat.
Since there was no Diocesan-wide retreat this year, Immaculate Conception hosted the retreat to provide a source of faith and fellowship, said Mary Ann Rivera, Immaculate Conception’s director of Evangelization & Faith Formation.
“For many women, this was the first time they’ve been around other women in any gathering due to the pandemic. I believe people are really hungry for community and connecting at a deeper level with others,” Rivera said.
The retreat featured two speakers – Monica Richards (Damascus Catholic Mission Campus) and Gina Cecutti Whiteman (former IC youth minister).
During her session, Richards relayed how God is “after our hearts.” And that encompasses a desire to prepare for Lent in whatever place, where we can be closer to God. She even displayed a rock-shaped heart to emphasize God is always present.
Relating the story of Jesus healing the hemorrhaging woman (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5: 25-34; and Luke 8: 43-48), Whiteman described how regardless of where we are at “God is looking for us and looking at us.”
“I felt like the Holy Spirit was really present, and from the moment we walked in, God was touching their hearts,” Rivera said.
The IC Woman’s Retreat was an initiative from the Parish Pastoral Council, which included direction from Lisa Galden and Janet Wilks, who both sit on the Faith Formation Commission.