A Leaders Training Workshop took place in Mary Aikenhead Centre, Donnybrook on 14/15 October 2011. There were 25 participants from all over Ireland – four travelling from Belfast. More than half were lay people. Most of the ‘sisters’ were ‘returned missionaries’ and we had one priest! All were anxious to become involved in retreat work with small groups.
This retreat normally takes place during Lent and Advent over an eight week period – one session each week – with a small group of lay people. Retreatants are taught how to meditate for fifteen minutes each day on various gospel scenes. Each weekly session has its own format, which is described in detail in the Neighbourhood Retreat Manual.
During the Training Weekend the participants are taken through the eight sessions and on completion they receive a lovely certificate, which qualifies them to conduct the Neighbourhood Retreat.
There is time to socialise and exchange experiences during the many breaks for snacks/lunch etc.
It is interesting to note that more than 500 people have so far participated in this Leaders Training Weekend, since it began in 1989! Many of these have since been organising Neighbourhood Retreats in various parts of the country.