The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist hosted the seminarians of the Diocese of Bridgeport for a week-long retreat at the motherhouse in Meriden, CT. Father Connaughton, Vocation Director of Bridgeport, was with the seminarians throughout the week. True to Franciscan spirituality the retreat incorporated prayer and work on the land as a way to build bonds of community with each other and with God. Work projects included care and maintenance of homes for the elderly, clearing brush and fallen trees, and helping with loading hay bales from the hay fields to the storage barns. This time of physical labor and care for creation are expressions of Franciscan spirituality that transform mere toil into co-operation with the Creator. Prayer gave rhythm and structure to the retreat as the seminarians joined the Franciscan communities for daily Mass and liturgy of the hours. They also spent time in prayer and reflection as a peer group, building relationships that will carry into their priestly formation. The Sisters enjoyed sharing dinner with the seminarians at the end of each day. Sharing a meal also allowed them to share about each other’s lives and vocation stories. For many it was a continuation of the friendships begun during last year’s retreat. The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, celebrated Mass on the last day of retreat in gratitude for the physical, spiritual, and interpersonal works that were accomplished, and for continued collaboration between the priesthood and religious life.
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