By Jacqueline McKnight
The Catholic Times
FLINT –– Prayer was the focus of the annual retreat for the Northeast Council of Catholic Women, offered Saturday, Nov. 6, at Christ the King Church.
The theme, “Are You Nourished by Prayer?” resonated with Fr. Steve Anderson, one of the featured speakers.
“When I saw the theme was ‘Are you nourished by prayer’ I began to think now what am I going to say and what do I want the CCW to learn from the retreat,” said Fr. Anderson, pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Burton. “It came to me. The best prayer to start out with is celebrating the Eucharist. It’s an open invitation to Christ. Another invitation to be nourished with prayer is attending Mass. Mass is my favorite time because each time I am changed.”
“I chose this theme because it was short and to the point,” said chairman Phyllis K. Cranston. “‘Are you nourished by prayer?’ This is a question we should ask ourselves all the time. How effective is our prayer life with God? Hopefully this retreat will teach CCW how important it is to pray.”
The teaching aspect made the retreat important, said Fr. Anderson.
“It’s easier to teach others how to pray,” he said, “but it can be a challenge to teach yourself how to pray. Remember it’s all about how much we love God and praying His words on a daily basis.”
Fr. Charles Irwin, the other guest speaker, talked about why people should pray.
“In my journey with prayer it’s not about what Jesus can do for me, but what I can do for Jesus,” said Fr. Irwin, a retired diocesan priest and canon lawyer. “If you’re going to walk the path of Jesus you have to be prepared to be nailed to a cross. When we allow Jesus in our life and our family we have to be prepared. We have to learn how to pray and go to Mass daily.”
“I did not realize we have to be careful about what we pray for until I heard it from Fr. Irwin,” said Pam Van Wagner, CCW treasurer.
The retreat attracted 55 women to Christ the King.
“The purpose of the CCW retreat was to bring the women together,” said Cranston. “As Catholic women we need to come together and have fellowship among each other. We were honored to have Fr. Anderson and Fr. Irwin to be our guest speakers. They both delivered a powerful and meaningful lesson on how to pray.”
“I thought the speakers were great,” said Wagner. “I learned we need to think about what we are praying about. I enjoyed the fact that both explained the importance of prayer in our daily lives.”
The importance of prayer and the theme were personal for Cranston.
“We want women to walk away with a better understanding of the power of prayer,” she said. “I like to share this story: Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I went to Mass and prayed the rosary every day. I am a cancer survivor and have been cancer free. That is why it is important to have these retreat to educate the Christian Catholic women.”