What are the obstacles to becoming saints? What are the weapons in protecting your family against evil influences? How can parents respond to children’s tough questions in matters of faith and morality? These and other topics were discussed at the Family Honor Presenter Retreat held recently in South Carolina.
The Retreat, which began Friday evening, August 26 and ended late Saturday afternoon, August 27, featured workshops and liturgies designed to provide continuing education and spiritual formation for Family Honor Presenters. Family Honor Executive Director Brenda Cerkez commented “We want the parents who bring their children to our family-centered programs to feel confident that what they are hearing accurately reflects Church teaching on marriage, family, chastity and more, and so we offer periodic continuing education to our Presenters via webinars, conferences and gatherings like this.”
Held at The Oratory Retreat Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Retreat participants included men and women from four of the nine states where Family Honor has teams of Presenters: South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
Family Honor’s Chaplain, Rev. Phillip Gillespie, celebrated Mass for attendees Friday evening and Saturday morning at the Oratory Chapel. He also gave a talk on Saturday,“Understanding Pope Francis’ Exhortation: The Joy of Love” and participated in the“Tough Questions” workshop.
As part of Father’s talk on Saturday, he offered a list of “Seven Obstacles to Becoming Saints.” These obstacles included: lack of generosity in doing God’s will (which can affect our union with God); lack of interior mortifications (controlling our emotions, accepting humiliations, letting go of grievances); lack of spiritual readings; and lack of mental prayer, the top obstacle.
Father went on to say that “all saints became saints because they practice mental prayer” and suggested that an effective part of mental prayer can be incorporating something to look at, such as an icon or a crucifix.
Family Honor Presenters also heard from special guest speaker Paul Thigpen, Ph.D, who is the Editor of TAN books in Charlotte, North Carolina. An internationally known speaker, best-selling author and award-winning journalist, Paul has published 46 books, including most recently theManual for Spiritual Warfare and Saints Who Battled Satan.
Paul gave two presentations on spiritual warfare at the Retreat. Part I was titled: “Know Your Enemy, Your Battle and Your Comrades” and Part II was titled “Know Your Weapons and Your Armor”.
In the “Know Your Enemy” session, Paul spoke about ordinary and extraordinary demonic activity and also how to seek assistance. In the “Know Your Weapons” segment, he talked about the spiritual weapons we should use as people of faith: Prayer and fasting; Eucharistic Adoration; Worship; Sacred Scripture; Sacraments; and Sacramentals, including: holy water, blessings, the sign of the cross, crucifixes, the St. Benedict medal, and other sacred objects.
During the Retreat, Family Honor Program and Training Director Vincent Weaver and his wife, Presenter Jeannie Weaver, provided a preview of Staying Connected, the newest Family Honor program.
Staying Connected, which was created for parents of high school age teens, is being piloted this year in South Carolina and selected areas. The program can be presented either in one 2 ½ hour session on a week night or one 4 hour session (which includes lunch) on a Saturday. Vincent indicated that the program is open to all parents of high school teens and parents of young adults as well. No teens or young adults attend the program – it is for parents only.
The Retreat ended with input from the Presenters regarding plans for the next Retreat.
Family Honor’s program year begins in September and we are continuing to book programs throughout the year. To see if a program has been booked yet in your area, go to:http://familyhonor.org/programs/find-a-family-honor-program-near-you/
Note: to book Staying Connected or another Family Honor program at your parish or high school, contact Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org