Monday, January 10, 2011

Bishops' Retreat, Mission BC Jan 6-9, 2011

Back Row: Bishops Gary Gordon, Yukon; Murray Chatlain, MacKenzie-Fort Smith; Eugene Cooney, Emeritus of Nelson; Davie Munroe, Kamloops; Fr. Antohny Gittins CSSp, retreat master; Fred Henry, Calgary; Richard Gagnon, Victoria; Donald Bolen, Saskatoon; Remi DeRoo, Ermitus of Victoria.
Front Row: Archbishops Sylvain Lavoie OMI, Keewatin-The Pas; Jame Weisgerber, Winnipeg; Michael Miller, CSB, Vancouver; Daniel Bohan, Regina; Joseph McNeil, Emeritus of Edmonton; Gerard Pettipas, Grouard-McLennan; Richard Smith, Edmonton; Albert LeGatt, St. Boniface.

Around 15 Western Canadian bishops gathered at Westminster Abbey in Mission BC for our annual retreat. The retreat master was Fr. Anthony Gittins, C.S.S.p., who teaches at the Catholic theological Union in Chicago and is the Professor of Mission and Culture. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburough and is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost (Spiritans). As a linguist and social anthropologist, Gittins interfaces the social sciences with theology and scripture. He has ministered from Africa to the Pacific Rim and bsides teaching works with Cicago's marginalizaed, especially homeless women.

Fr. Gittins spoke about discipleship. Some of the gems he shared with us are that discipleship is for humans, not angels. A disciple is one who is open to learning, who hears the Word, internalizes it and births it in others, as did Mary, the first disciple. A disciple encounters Jesus personally and responds to his initiative to follow him along his way, letting go of one's own will. Unlike the rabbis, who were chosen by their students, Jesus chose his disciples, and invited them to put compassion before tradition, as he did. Jesus also opened up discipleship to all, men and women, unlike the rabbis. He also empowered women and affirmed them, like the woman who anointed his head with oil, a priestly action.

With enthusiasm, humour and great insight, Gittins brought many scripture passages to life, leaving us with much food for reflection and thought.

No comments: