Acts29 Retreat Update: Meaningful Weekend with Family & New-Found Friends (2014)

WE HAD FUN!  That’s the verdict!

We reached CHOICE Retreat House probably 8ish; Pres+Ivy both came from work.  First thing we did was to warn everybody at the Retreat that this was both Pres+Ivy’s first retreat in Singapore and Pres’s very first ever (how come I did not know this?!)!

I was very worried Pres would get bored – he easily gets weirded out by long talks and odd product pitches (except for IT stuff) and I suspected he had actually downloaded a few movies to his phone so he’d have something to kill time – as he always says – just in case haha!

I came from a St. Paul school back home in the Philippines so retreats are commonplace.  Pres went to a Chinese school (digressing but funny to add this in here: am guessing this was where he got his gibberish Mandarin hahahaha!) and he associates retreat with spa not entirely off tangent and I’d give it to him – I see some semblance myself haha!

We had chicken rice for dinner, met the rest of the participants, and watched this movie Under the Roman Sky, depicting Pope Pius XII’s struggles during World War II.

Pope Pius XII Under the Roman Sky
(Photo grabbed from piusmedia site


We got up at 830, had toast and coffee, and we were told we would have 2 speakers for the day.

Our first speaker was Fr. Edward Lim.  He talked about Providence, which we thought was very enlightening.   Jesus is not teaching us to be lazy here. We are to work, doing our best (Eph. 4:28), then leave the rest to God.

Interestingly, Fr. Edward is a Carmelite priest who gave up a promising career as a trained doctor to answer the call to the priesthood.

Fr Edward Lim Carmelite
(Photo grabbed from Catholic News SG site

Second speaker was Fr. David Garcia – he’s a Dominican priest from Spain and he lectures on Moral Theology.  The topic was Solidarity and how it plays out in charitable organisations like Acts29.  He immediately threw this question at us: why do we lock our homes and cars and keep our keys on our person?   Then he started talking about distrust – one thought-provoking distillation if I may say.  He ended the session with a mass celebration where Pres+Ivy got to do the first and second readings; Fr. David even joined us for dinner and stayed longer for some chat.

Fr David Garcia Dominican 2
(Photo grabbed from Catholic News SG site

As our last activity for the night, we did the Cosmic Walk.  We had it outdoors and the walk was lighted by altar candles, which gave it some sense of solemnity.  The Cosmic Walk is created by Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm in New Jersey, she’s a Dominican Sister.  It tells of the story how the universe came about from beginning up to present and it literally made us place our feet in the unfolding story of the cosmos and from there to reflect upon that which we call the divine.

Cosmic Walk
(Photo grabbed from CACSJ site

First few slides in all honesty just didn’t seem to come to me as something I could find meaning in but as I moved up to the next slides, the story began to unfold and I got to read familiar words like flowers and birds and poems, especially that part which made us think of one person who in the last 10 years made a huge impact in our lives, it all started to bring in this realization of how I fit in the whole picture.  It gave my existence much more meaning.

Morning, quick coffee and bread for breakfast and we had our last talk by Mr Arthur Goh, the academic director of Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore.

Arthur Goh CTIS
(Photo grabbed from CTIS site

His talk was about God’s Kingdom.  There was group sharing re our favourite parables and the session ended with us playing three versions of the Musical Chair game, which everybody enjoyed!  Interestingly, this game is very popular in Manila, Philippines at kids’s parties but it’s called “Trip to Jerusalem” – we have no idea why!

Our Retreat photos are in the next post!


That perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.” – Aphra Behn



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