Being a chaplain is an incredibly fun and rewarding job – but that doesn’t mean that sometimes, it’s nice to get away and take some time for yourself as a chaplain! That’s the exact idea we had when we went ahead with this year’s chaplain’s retreat – we understand the importance of a very free, relaxed few days to allow some precious “me” time.
We began the retreat by discussing the burdens that we’re currently holding – this is something that’s not easy to do, but it always feels better to talk about the things that we struggle with. Tom Baptist gave us an incredibly insightful reflection as to what a “yoke” is – and what Jesus refers to as a “yoke”. In Jewish tradition, Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is very light. Often, we think of Jesus taking all of our burdens off of our shoulders, but actually, the Jewish use of the word “yoke” actually portrays that Jesus shares our burdens – He takes the weight off of our shoulders by knowing the struggles we have, and sharing in that struggle – to make our lives easier!
The idea of Jesus carrying our burdens with us was further signified in our initial group prayer, in which we physically placed the things we were struggling with in a backpack upon the shoulders of Jesus.
To really allow us to spend time on our selves and our own faith, we facilitated a large variety of workshops that gave us so many ways to relax! From our very own NDCYSpa, to yoga classes, to a run to Crich Stand and back! The freedom and calm of these workshops really encouraged us to make the choice for ourselves, and not choosing based on what others want to do gave us that self love that we all require sometimes!
A night of reconciliation (and adoration!) gave us some self-reflection time. In the chapel, we focused on our own relationships with Jesus in a beautiful, personal time of prayer. Reconciliation was offered by Fr. Johnathan for those who felt called to the Sacrament. This allowed us to rebuild our relationships with Jesus, to apologise for the things we’ve done that are not of God, and to move on knowing we are forgiven for our sins!
What’s a Briars retreat without a bit of entertainment on the final night!? We were treated to an exquisite meal of the finest lasagne, and we also had some light refreshments presented, with our delicious Briars Bakes free of charge too! The highlight of the retreat for me, definitely, was celebrating mass, said by Bishop Patrick, and accompanied by the CEO’s of our Catholic Multi-Academy Trusts, in which the work of all the chaplains of our diocese was celebrated and commemorated beautifully! It was a lovely retreat to be a part of – every laugh, tear and smile that was shared made the retreat an incredible experience for all who came – thank you for making it such a special time!