DS-WA MGOCSM - California Region – Nativity Retreat 2014

By the Grace of God, the California region had a Nativity Retreat from December 21st to December 24th. The Nativity Retreat was held at the Holy Cross Monastery in Castro Valley, California (Northern California). Rev. Dn. Saju Varghese & Rev. Dn. Arun Varghese provided leadership and support for the retreat. The 3.5 days revolved around silence, the liturgical prayers, and work. We learned and used the liturgical prayers of the Nativity Feast at the indicated hours of the day (7 PM, 10 PM, 3 AM, 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM). There were no messages, keynote addresses, or seminars. Instead, many discussions stemmed from learning and using the liturgical prayers as well as from the hours of silence, which allowed the students to meditate, reflect on themselves, or even read through spiritual books (i.e. God and Man by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom). Lastly, the students spent some time with the monks that lived at the monastery and assisted them with their day to day activities and manual labor such as making walkways and cleaning the forestry.