Annual Lenten Spiritual Retreat
The Maltese Association held its annual live-in Lenten Spiritual Retreat at the Jesuits’ Manresa Retreat House, on the outskirts of Victoria, Gozo, from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th March 2019.
The retreat was guided by Prof. Edward Warrington, member of the Christian Life Community and Centre for Ignatian Spirituality.
Throughout the retreat, Prof. Warrington took the members and Volunteers in attendance through three very relevant movements for the Order of Malta, starting with Ministering to Christ : the judgement of the nations; then going on to the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy : the imitation of Christ; and finally concluding with Ministering to Christ during his Passion and Death.
On Saturday early morning there was opportunity to join the neighbouring Poor Clare Sisters at Lauds in the Convent’s chapel; and later that day a pilgrimage was held to the Ta’ Pinu Shrine on the outskirts of the village of Gharb, where Holy Mass was concelebrated by the Association’s Principal Chaplain the Rev. Mgr. Lawrence Gatt and Conventual Chaplain “ad honorem” the Rev Mgr. Paul Vella. Opportunity was also afforded to say confession.
Much opportunity was afforded during the retreat to meditate on the various insights which Prof. Warrington shared with participants, to whom handouts on each movement were distributed as an aide memoire; and silent walks in Gozo’s beautiful near-spring countryside were also encouraged for this purpose.
This was the very first time that a spiritual retreat organised by the Association was conducted by a lay person, but as the President himself observed in his closing remarks of thanks to Prof. Warrington shortly after Holy Mass was celebrated on Sunday, the Order is itself a lay religious order. All those who attended felt that this had been a very special experience, and it is ardently hoped that Prof. Warrington will have the occasion to address us once more in the near future.
The annual Lenten Retreat organised by the Association, being a weekend retreat, also presents opportunity to those Members who have taken the Promise of Obedience within the Order to fulfil the obligation of attending an annual 3-day spiritual retreat.