Annual Newman retreat for university students celebrates saints

Participants in the annual Newman Retreat held at St. Peter's Abbey in Muenster, SK. (Photo courtesy of St. Thomas More College)

Exploration of canonization and walking pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Cathedral were among the highlights of a recent weekend of reflection and fellowship held at Benedictine abbey

Article courtesy of St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon

For over 40 years, St. Thomas More (STM) students, staff and faculty, as well as Newman members from across the University of Saskatchewan campus have gathered at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK, for the annual Newman Retreat.

This year, the retreat was held Jan. 31-Feb. 2, exploring the theme: “Celebrating Saints.”

The theme was apt this year, as the patron of Newman Centres all around the world – John Henry Cardinal Newman – was canonized a saint in October 2019.

The retreat weekend was an exploration of what makes a saint, who are some of the saints, and what is the process to become one. During the gathering, participants heard about Newman, St. Thomas More, and many other saints. They also watched a short video of STM faculty and staff talking about their favourite saints.

The weekend included prayer, a screening of the movie “A Man for All Seasons,” socializing and games, a photo scavenger hunt, an All Saints Jeopardy game, and music led throughout the weekend by STM Campus Ministry’s own Celeste Woloschuk.  Evening prayer was led Friday by Fr. Andre Lalach, and was an Akathist to Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky, C.Ss.R., who was a Bishop and Martyr.

A highlight of the weekend for many was the pilgrimage walk to St. Peter’s Cathedral in Muenster, where Fr. Paul Paproski, OSB, and Fr. Demetrius Wasylyniuk, OSB, talked about all the saints and the art in the church painted by Count Berthold von Imhoff, an artist known for his religious themes.

The Newman Executive is responsible for planning the retreat with the guidance of their STM staff mentor,  Michael MacLean. MacLean included a remembrance of long-time Newman Retreat attendee and well-loved STM faculty member Dr. Alan Reese, who died in June 2019.

The weekend wrapped up with Sunday Mass celebrated with the monks of St. Peter’s Benedictine Abbey.

Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, presided, and spoke in his homily of the saints and those in the world that inspire us by their perseverance and dedication. There was a positive spirit amongst the retreatants, and they commented on their evaluations expressing gratitude for this special weekend away.

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