Circular Letter No. 10/2010
October 22, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
Let me quote a few words of Our Lady:
"Beloved sons, with what love I look at you, and how my sorrowful Heart is consoled by this continuous cenacle of yours, which renews here the reality of that of Jerusalem! You are gathering together in prayer which is continuous, intense and made with me. How pleasing to me is the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, the entire rosary which you recite, the Eucharistic adoration and the solemn concelebration of Mass, which forms the heart of the entire cenacle!"
(Bear Within Yourselves the Witness of Jesus, Message 408)
This vividly describes the recently concluded MMP Priests’ Retreat held last October 11-15, 2010 at Bahay Pari in San Carlos Seminary Complex, Makati City. This message was actually the first of the four messages cut during the four-day Eucharistic adoration offered by the lay cenacle groups during the retreat’s entire period. The other messages were: Go and Evangelize (468 for the second day, Of What Are youAfraid? (113) for the third day, and The Eyes Raised to Mary (387) for the fourth day. What was amazing in these messages was that all four messages were about priests doing a retreat in the form of a continuous cenacle!
Our Lady said it perfectly! She was there with us all along. That priests are sons of Her predilection was very obvious. She herself had said that one of her gifts to priests is one of most particular predilection, expressing itself by the ordering of all things, the arranging of every circumstance like an embroidery of perfect beauty woven by her loving hands (Message 284 e).Exactly, this was what She did! The overwhelming success of the retreat was, indeed, a testament to Her maternal solicitude for priests.
From the time of preparation, to the days of the retreat, and up until the aftermath, we observed that even the little details were arranged according to her plan. With childlike dispositions, we simply abandoned ourselves and watched her amazing actions. One incident that made our eyes blink was the limited room accommodation in Bahay Pari. Only 30 rooms were available. But, later, an extra room was provided, making a total of 31. Up to the day of arrival and registration, there were cancellations of reservations, but unexpected walk-ins filled them up. Then, finally, 32 priests made it in the list. But, as one of them was a resident of the seminary, the rooms were just exact.
Together with Our Lady, there were the MMP lay who provided us with much needed assistance. Most significant were their prayers which accompanied us during the days of our spiritual journey. Long before the retreat began, a campaign for prayers was disseminated nationwide through the MMP Yahoo Groups. Our remarkable experience would not be possible if not for the volumes of prayers they offered.
Among the past several MMP clergy retreats, it was the first time when lay cenacle groups came in the retreat house to continue the Eucharistic adoration done by the priests in their first activity. After the whole day’s adoration, in the early part of the evening, they joined us at the Eucharistic concelebration. For this, I thank all the MMP lay for surrounding us with their prayers; prayers which truly moved mountains in us. Among the MMP retreats I have joined, this one was the most palpably powerful, all because of their prayers and sacrifices.
Words were not enough to describe the experience we had during this retreat. There was a bit of disappointment for the shortness of time for prayer, for reflection and for sharing during the cenacle. Some felt restrained to express openly what went inside them. I acknowledged this sentiment. But, as I told one priest, the beautiful thing that happened is better kept and treasured in the heart – as Our Lady did. This was her secret in her fidelity to God’s Will. This must also be our secret in keeping priestly fidelity and commitment. Certainly, with Our Lady, priests will see once more the radiance of the priesthood despite the storm.
We will definitely have more priests’ retreats. As MMP’s commitment to the local Church, we continue to offer the Retreat in the Form of Continuous Cenacle to the clergy through invitations of dioceses. But, starting next year, MMP-Philippines will go beyond. Invitations will be extended to priests in neighboring Asean countries.To accommodate them, there will be two schedules of MMP Retreats for the Clergy in 2011: one on May 9 - 13 and another on October 10-14. We entrust this plan to the loving hands of Our Lady. May Her Son bring it to fulfillment.
God bless us all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
REV. FR. ROMERICO A. PRIETO
Marian Movement of Priests - Philippines