• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Monday, 25 August 2014 17:53

Disability Council heads to desert country for retreat on Living Water

Disability-Council-retreat1---350To be effective in Mission, we need to take time, as Jesus did, to withdraw from the demands of our busy lives and connect again with the Living Water that sustains us, and that’s exactly what the members of the Australian Catholic Disability Council did in the desert around Alice Springs recently.

Fr Asaeli Raass SVD led a retreat for the Council based on the theme of spiritual dryness and living water – an experience made all the more meaningful by its focus on the cool, calm waterholes which are found in the desert country of Central Australia.

The Australian Catholic Disability Council was established to advise the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life on strategies and projects it can undertake to promote the participation of people with disability in the life of the Australian Church.

Fr Raass says he has had an association with the Council for some years and greatly admires the work of its members.

“They’ve done great work in highlighting the contribution of everyone who has a disability of any kind, to society and to the Church,” he says.

“And this Council has a really lovely, family spirit which they spread to other people they come into contact with and so it’s a great feeling to be a part of it.”

Disability-council-retreat3---350The Council members asked Fr Raass to lead them in retreat during their meeting in Alice Springs, and suggested the theme of spiritual dryness and living water.

“It’s a question all of us need to ask in our lives,” Fr Raass says. “When the well runs dry, what happens?”

“And you can then relate that to the desert experience of Christians who might be finding dryness in their prayer life and their following of Jesus. And what do they do with that?

The day-long retreat took the form of a pilgrimage through some of the desert country around Alice Springs, stopping and reflecting at various waterholes.

“People think the desert is always dry, but it’s not,” says Fr Raass. “Water is always there, in the waterholes, calm and serene, if only we can take the time to come out of our desert place and see that the water is still there.”

Fr Raass said the group, which included the Bishops’ delegate for the Disability Council, Bishop Terry Brady, reflected on the importance of water in the time of Jesus.

“Jesus was a semi-desert dweller as well and water was a very precious commodity and so he saw the Living Water as a precious gift and that is a beautiful image for the kind of life that God gives everyone.

“So we took opportunities through the day to reflect on that while visiting waterholes.

“There’s a lot that goes on with the desert of our lives and I think that being in the physical desert, really helps people to get in touch with that.”

The highlight of the day came when Fr Raass and the members of the Council celebrated Mass at Ormiston Gorge, beside the tranquil water.

“It was really, really beautiful, with the sparkling water behind us and it was just so quiet so you could hear the water and the animals. We also had visits from birds, dingoes and kangaroos,” he says.

Disability-Council-retreat2---350---lighting-adjustedAustralian Catholic Disability Council Chairperson, Michele Castagna, who lives in Alice Springs, says the desert location for the retreat added to the reflective nature of the day.

“When you’re in the middle of the desert you realise that maybe that’s where we find the living water – within ourselves,” she says.

“It was a very full day, but also blessed. The weather was beautiful and it was a time just be together and gain strength and nurture ourselves, which is so important in our busy world. We often forget to nurture our own souls, to ‘Be still and know that I am God’.

Council member Debra Sayce says that taking time out from the busyness of life and being in nature helped her to hear God’s voice.

“We dwelt on certain pieces of Scripture to do with baptism and water and asked ‘what does it mean to you?’

“And that area around Alice Springs, with its harshness and its incredible beauty, it was just wonderful to reconnect and listen to God’s voice and to consider your vocation. You don’t get many opportunities to do that. It was absolutely fantastic.”

Fellow Council member, Glenn Mowbray says the retreat was a beautiful and profound experience.

“It was so different from any retreat I’ve ever done,” he says. “It felt like the spirit and the land were one and the same. At every place we went to we felt like were part of the surrounds. It was breathtaking.”