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Western Region Lenten Retreat (4/16/16)

On Saturday April 16, 2016, the Western Region Diocesan Lenten Retreat took place at Christ The Savior Orthodox Church, Rockford, IL.

The Deanery Mission and Retreat Theme was "For the Life of the World." - John 6:51. The day's events included:
The Akathist of Thanksgiving , spiritual talks, presentations and a special youth activity.

Posted photos are courtesy of Pani Bonnie Sherry.
On Saturday April 16, 2016, Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Rockford, Illinois hosted the Midwest Diocesan Lenten Retreat
The afternoon began with an Akathist of Thanksgiving “Glory to God for All Things”
Why the Akathist "Glory to God for All Things!" rather than a usual Lenten service with Lenten tones? According to host pastor, Father Jonathan Bannon, “In the 5th week of Lent it can be easy to become discouraged or tired, so we offered a service written in a prison camp by someone who, facing such pain, still saw God in all things. We sang hymns of thanksgiving for the very dew of the morning to the very sunset of the night, reminding us that all things are from the Lord and that He is everywhere present.”
Father Gregory Allard, pastor of Saint Alexis Orthodox Church in Battle Ground, Indiana gave the homily entitled Transformation to Transfiguration: Parish Outreach and Faith in College Life. Father Gregory explained how the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at Purdue University provided the seed which grew into Saint Alexis Orthodox Church. He talked about the many challenges that our college students face, such as the pressure of silencing their Christian beliefs. We were reminded how important it is to pray for them to become enlightened and strong in Christ, to help them stay connected, and to find a foundation in the church.
The congregation.
As the Lenten Retreat was entitled "For the Life of the World," we fittingly heard from (Housemother) Laura Paulus of the new Martha and Mary Maternity House (located in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago (www.marthamarychicago.org/).
The Martha and Mary Maternity House is where pregnant women, who choose life for their unborn child, can find support, shelter, food, and a safe haven.
As part of the Retreat’s Youth Activity, the youth from Saint Michael's in Niles, Illinois shared a project for helping those in need and sharing Christ with others.
Food bags for the homeless were assembled and decorated with messages of love. Bags were given to Deanery clergy to distribute in each of their home parishes.
The food bags are part of the Saint Michael youth ministry's philosophy of feeding the spiritual and physical needs of those less fortunate.
If we meet someone in need on the road of life we can have these bags in our cars ready to offer ... with food for the belly and a prayer/icon card to help feed the soul with God's love.
Azucena and Nicoletta Sodini, along with their father, Father Deacon Peter Sodini, from Saint Michael's parish, shared their positive encounters with the homeless in the Chicago area when distributing the food bags.
Deanery Clergy: Father Gregory Allard (Saint Alexis Church, Battleground, IN); Father Deacon Peter Sodini (Saint Michael’s Church, Niles, IL); Father Jonathan Bannon (host pastor); Father Samuel Sherry, Dean (Saint Michael’s Church, Niles, IL); Father Lev Holowaty (Descent of the Holy Spirit Church, Schererville, IN); Father Alexis Miller (Holy Transfiguration Mission, Crawfordsville, IN)
Thank you to the parishioners of Christ the Savior for their hospitality! A delicious potluck Lenten meal was served. Pictured are a few of the ladies from the parish who helped serve and clean-up.
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