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Archives North Country Cursillo sponsors a diocesan Day of Recollection at St. Augustine’s in Peru
Creating ‘campfire moments’

April 4, 2018

By Ken Racette and Darcy FargoDay of Recollection
Contributing writers

Peru - After recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus around a campfire, as well as his subsequent profession of love for Jesus, also around a campfire (John 21:15-19), Bishop Terry R. LaValley told  those  gathered at St. Augustine’s for the second annual Day of Recollection, that “we all have our own campfire moments.”
Bishop LaValley provided the keynote address for the Day of Recollection held on March 3.

Sponsored by North Country Cursillo, the event was hosted by the parishioners of St. Augustine’s and Father Alan Shnob, and centered around the theme, “The Paschal Mystery.”

The event drew approximately 90 people and included witness testimonies, spiritual exhortation, music and prayer, as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, opportunity for the Sacrament of Recollection and an anticipated Mass celebrated by Bishop LaValley.

In his address, Bishop LaValley shared some of his own fears and weaknesses, and said he was greatly inspired by Peter, who through fear denied Jesus three times, yet became the Rock of the Church that Jesus called him to be, even giving up his own life for Christ.

He spoke of the campfire experience of John 21:15-19, which he said, “provides a good image for the Paschal Mystery: around it we experience Peter’s act of betrayal, sin and around it Peter’s affirmation of love of Christ and the divine forgiveness, redemption that follows.”

“I think that it’s safe to say that we all have our own campfire experiences, perhaps not as dramatic as Peter,” Bishop LaValley said. “But we have those moments where we deny our God and reject the love He offers, for as many reasons as there are individuals.

“We also relish those moments when God’s healing presence was very real, His forgiveness tangible,” he said.
Bishop LaValley also asked those assembled for the event to remember Peter’s and Jesus’ words around that campfire when we are tempted with fear or apathy: “Do you love me?” “Lord, you know that I love You!” “Feed my sheep.”

Recalling Cursillo experiences
Father Shnob opened the event with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by a few remarks about the value of Cursillo.

He recalled his own Cursillo Weekend in Cornwall, Ontario, which he attended with a bishop, several priests and lay candidates. He remarked that several men had been inspired to enter the diaconate through their experience of that Weekend.

Next, Deacon David L. Clark of St. John the Baptist in Plattsburgh shared his conversion story. He explained how God led a Wesleyan Methodist teenager to begin learning about Catholicism through a priest who sang to mentally disabled children about Jesus, and his later conversion through the faith of his wife.

The Paschal Mystery
Father Albert J. Hauser, pastor of the Catholic Community of Moriah,  began the discussion of the Paschal Mystery. He described Christ’s life as one of complete servanthood, pondering the mystery of how the Word of God, who created the magnificent universe, could come into our world as a helpless baby and later wash the feet of twelve men who would become the leaders of the Church.

Sally Kokes of St. Augustine’s later shared how God used the people and events of her young life to form her faith and strengthen her to endure the deaths of two of her children and other tragedies with hope and love.
Father Timothy Canaan, pastor of St. John the Baptist in Plattsburgh, explained how God allowed him to suffer the loss of several loved ones and later struggle with anxiety in order to teach him compassion and empathy for those who are in his spiritual care.

He gave several examples of how Catholics must endure the pain of the “Good Fridays” of life in order to experience the joys of the “Easter Resurrection.”

Steve Forgette of St. Peter’s Parish in Plattsburgh looked at his life of faith through the lens of his parents and grandparents, who had inspired him from his earliest memories.

He described how he learned through an old news article that God has spared his father during a terrible car accident and how he realized without this miracle Steve himself would never have been born.

Father Jack Downs summarized the day in his closing remarks.

“As we continue to grow and mature in our Christian lives, the two words, Paschal Mystery, should take on richer and deeper meaning so that at the conclusion of each Eucharist, when we are commissioned to ‘Go in Peace,’ we can go out into the world as living sacraments of this Paschal Mystery,” Father Downs said.
Bishop LaValley presided at the closing Mass which featured the choir of St. Augustine Church and Honor Guard by the Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus.

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