A total of 13 men and boys joined the St Peter Chapter for the last Kepha retreat of the year. The “Father, Forgive Them” retreat on November 19-20 did not just mark the end of a calendar year for Kepha, or even the end of the liturgical year with the feast of Christ the King. This retreat also completed the Year of Mercy, during which Kephans have been meditating on the Spiritual Works of Mercy. “Forgive injuries” was the last of these works to be covered over the course of three retreats in 2016.
The guest speaker at the retreat was Fr. James Oberle, PSS. Fr. Oberle is an affiliate assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas. He joined the Kephans after 8am Mass at St Mark the Evangelist in Plano, TX, to speak on 12 steps to forgiveness. We must consider what wrong was done us and what our involvement with it was. Forgiveness is not a instantaneous event; to truly forgive another one must take time to truly understand what we are forgiving and to pray and ask God’s help.
After Fr. Oberle’s talk, the Kephans prayed morning prayers and a rosary, then went outside for dodgeball. During dodgeball Fr. Jack Hopka from St Mark graciously heard our confessions. A spirited game of forgiveness hangman followed. The terms used in the game were theological ones associated with penance and reconciliation.
Once the games and lunch were over, the Kephans loaded up to go to the nursing home. Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues they were not able to visit the residents, so instead they visited the Planned Parenthood in Plano, where they prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet and an Angelus.
More dodgeball followed, and then a game of Outburst Bible edition. Three teams of four (named Bosco, Calcutta, and Frassati) battled to name people, places, and things in the Bible associated with a given topic. Around this point, we were blessed to be joined by a member of the NET team stationed at St Mark. The final score was Calcutta, 56; Frassati, 53; and Bosco, 40.
After the game John Peter Yamauchi gave a talk on confession. The talk focused on the essentials of the sacrament of reconciliation, how it is an act of Faith, and how it is truly a gift of mercy.
As the sun went down the Kephans joined in a semi-organized game of soccer. This was followed by dinner and a showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s I Confess, an incredible film about the seal of confession focusing on a young priest who has just heard the confession of a murderer. To everyone’s delight, due to some missing activities during the day, bed and lights out was an hour earlier than usual.
At 2am, all awoke for the Kepha hour of adoration known as Yawns for Christ. The Dad’s Discussion mainly focused on Fr. Oberle’s talk from the previous day, including many questions we wished we had thought of while he was with us. Then came breakfast and 9am Mass at St Mark. The house was cleaned and the Kephans gathered for Open Mic before dispersing with the Kepha Rally Cry.
We would like to thank Fr. Oberle for coming to speak with us, St Mark for letting us hold our last three retreats there, and the people who prepared our food so generously.