SAFEGUARDING: A Lenten Recollection with Fr Lester Vaz: Monday, April 4, 2022
As a spiritual practice, ‘recollection’ is understood as giving close and thoughtful attention to the presence of God in the soul. As a means to accomplish this, one must withdraw the mind from external and earthly affairs and devote one's attention wholly to God and the divine. This is exactly what the seminarians did when taking part in a day-long Lenten recollection, in anticipation of Holy Week, the Christian observance that commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ and occurs between Palm Sunday and Easter.
The principal leitmotif of the assemblage was ‘Safeguarding’, to aid seminarians in discharging their fiduciary duty towards protection of minors and vulnerable adults. Fr Lester Vaz exhorted all those assembled to “be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness” in the quest for making people feel safe in the Church. To galvanize the gathering and inspire us to commit towards this cause, the magnificently solemn hymn written by American Roman Catholic organist and composer, Jean Anthony Greif (1889-1981) titled ‘We Are The Light Of The World’, was periodically sung at regular intervals during the sessions. Furthermore, the participants gained an understanding vis-à-vis prevention, intervention (reporting abuse and implementation of existing procedures from Vos estis lux mundi), to apprise us on the state of affairs and help us chart a course forward in the protection of those entrusted to our care.
As servants of the People of God, we are called to aspire towards a life of holiness and incessant sanctification. In pursuance of this intention, a Eucharistic Holy Hour with Confessions was part of the afternoon schedule to adore our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and seek expiation for our sinfulness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The community also experienced a sense of renewal by observing penitential practices of fasting and abstinence that are aimed at bringing our spiritual lives into harmony with the created order. Finally, the recollection grew to a crescendo of celebrating the Holy Eucharist. The main celebrant Fr Michael D'Cunha further elucidated on the ‘We Are The Light Of The World’ recurrent image through an engaging sermon that edified the mind and nourished the faith of those gathered in prayer. One of the ideas that struck us like a whipcord from his homily was: “Do not obstruct the light of Christ from shining through you”. During the season of Lent, this retreat has indeed helped us to fall more deeply in love with God.
Bro Sunil Godinho
III Year Theology
St. Pius X College