“Setting Out with Paul”: Retreat for Young Women During this year dedicated to St. Paul, Romania’s National Intercongregational Team for Pastoral Work for Vocations (which operates in the name of the Romanian Federation for the Consecrated Life), coordinated by the Daughters of St. Paul, has organized various initiatives for young women, including a retreat that takes as its point of departure the Apostle’s vocation journey.
From 4-6 July, 20 Catholic and 6 Orthodox young women from various parts of the country (Bucharest, Cacau, Caransebes, Iasi and Roman), gathered in the beautiful town of Lucani to joyfully begin the Pauline Year through reflection on the Word of God so as to learn to listen to the voice of the Apostle today. The retreat was guided by a group of animators who taught the participants how to search for God’s will for them through silence, solitude, listening, spiritual dialogue, the Lectio Divina and the drawing up of a spiritual project of life.
During those 3 days, the young women came to perceive St. Paul as an appealing model of life and were won over by the Apostle’s courage in proposing the different aspects of the Christian message in a convincing and up-to-date way.
They also had the chance to get to know the charisms of the different Congregations whose members guided the retreat, especially the charism of the Pauline Family, and to appreciate the simple, fraternal collaboration of the team members among themselves and their joyous witness to the religious life.
Here are some of the things the young women said at the end of the encounter: This retreat in the footsteps of Paul gave me the chance to really think seriously about God…. I took the time to stop and listen and I was able to hear what my heart was telling me…. I discovered new horizons of faith…. I came to see how courageous Paul was: he continually moved ahead, in spite of many difficulties…. I discovered that I want to listen to God…. It was an unforgettable experience. This retreat helped me listen to the Word. I came to better understand what God wants me to do with my life…. I decided that when I go home I will begin to read the Sacred Scriptures more frequently and attentively.
Bucharest - Special Ecumenical Itinerary for the Pauline Year To celebrate the Year dedicated to the Apostle of the Gentiles, our sisters of Romania have organized four meetings to bring together Latin and Byzantine Rite Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Protestants. The encounters, which are being held in the FSP book center of Bucharest, center on Paul’s famous statement to the Galatians: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Ga. 3:27-28).
The first meeting, which took place on 24 Nov. 2008, was attended by many people from different Christian denominations. Guest speakers Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest and Auxiliary Bishop Mihai Fratila of Alba Iulia Fagaras explored the text from Galatians in depth. Their talks were followed by the viewing of the first episode of the DVD, Paul: From Tarsus to the World, in which the Apostle issues a powerful ecumenical reminder to all Christians that Jesus is their source of unity and mutual love.
A film clip of the encounter can be viewed on the website of the Archbishopric of Bucharest:
Bucharest - Ecumenical Meeting on Scripture in the Life of St. Paul On 23 February 2009, the FSPs of Bucharest opened the doors of their book center to welcome the public to their Second Biblical-Ecumenical Meeting–part of an itinerary organized to celebrate the Pauline Year.
This second stage of their journey was guided by Fr. Tarcizio Serban, a Roman Catholic biblical scholar from the Bucharest Archdiocese, who competently discussed the theme: “Whatever was written in former days, was written for our instruction” (Rm. 15:4): The Role of Scripture in the Life of the Apostle Paul.
The conference was enriched by the viewing of a segment of the documentary Paul: From Tarsus to the World, a DVD produced by the FSPs of Rome, Italy. Entitled, “In the School of Gamaliel,” the film segment helped the participants enter the fascinating world of Paul so as to reflect more deeply on his relationship with the Scriptures.
The enthusiastic participation of the Catholic laity, as well as members of the Orthodox and Lutheran Churches, helped everyone in the group rediscover how beautiful it is to gather around the Word of God in a spirit of unity and communion.
The occasion was further enhanced by the discreet and authoritative presence of the Metropolitan of Bucharest, His Excellency Ioan Robu, who has ceaselessly encouraged the Daughters of St. Paul to explore new paths to help unite the different Christian denominations present in his Archdiocese.
Those who would like to follow these encounters via the Internet can visit the Archdiocese’s website www.arcb.ro, and those who would like to watch a video clip of this second meeting can click on http://www.arcb.ro/index.php
Horgesti - “Together for the Sake of the Gospel” From 26 July to 3 August 2009, the words of the Apostle Paul, “I do everything for the sake of the Gospel,” will vigorously ring throughout the Christian community of Horgesti, Romania.
It is precisely Paul, the missionary without boundaries, who has motivated the FSPs of Bucharest, two Romanian priests (the pastor of Horgesti and a priest-journalist), the SSPs of Vicenza, Italy and several young people from both countries to combine their energies to pro-claim the Gospel in a fresh, simple and creative way to the people of Horgesti (Diocese of Iasi), located on the shores of a beautiful lake in the northern part of the country.
By the word “together,” the evangelization team means that they want to work both with and for others, placing themselves at the service of the Church so as to share with the lo-cal Christian community the bread of the Word, times of prayer and manual labor, biblical animations, moments of ecumenical dialogue with brothers and sisters of the Orthodox Faith, and also moments of festivity and celebration…all so as to discover, with the Apostle Paul, the beauty of being disciples of a single Master, children of the same Father.
P.S. Those who would like to support this initiative through their prayers, offerings and mes-sages can write to:
- The Daughters of St. Paul of Bucharest firstname.lastname@example.org - Don Domenico Soliman email@example.com - sr. Rosalba Lobresco firstname.lastname@example.org - sr. Francesca Pratillo email@example.com - sr. Maria Bulai firstname.lastname@example.org - Padre Cornel Cadar email@example.com
Bucharest - Ecumenical Closing of the Pauline Year To celebrate the Pauline Year together with other Christian Churches, the Daughters of St. Paul of Bucharest welcomed two special guest speakers to their Pauline Book Center: on 27 April, Pastor Daniel Zikeli of the Lutheran Evangelical Church and a professor at the theological University of Sibiu; and on 22 June, Fr. Marian Vild, professor New Testament studies at the Orthodox Theological Faculty.
Our sisters say the two encounters guided by these speakers helped to broaden their horizons and also their knowledge of our fellow-Christian Churches by providing space for a fraternal sharing of different views concerning the figure of the great Apostle Paul.
Daniel Zikeli, who spoke on the theme, I am not ashamed of the Gospel (Rm. 1:16), emphasized the importance of proclaiming the Gospel boldly and courageously, while Fr. Marian, whose conference was entitled, A Light Shines in the Darkness (2 Co. 4:6), helped everyone come to understand in the light of Paul and the Fathers of the Church that our spiritual journey is genuine to the degree that “the light of God shines in our life.”