A Regional Retreat for Caritas Directors in Asia

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A reflection by Dr. Benedict D’ Rozario, President of Caritas Asia

Retreat can be, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said, of two types - one is of total silence.

“Do you want a Retreat of total silence?”, he asked us the participants coming from the Asian Countries.

"No", said I, without thinking much.

So, in our daily schedule of three-days Retreat on 7-9 October 2019 at the Camillian Centre, Bangkok had an important item - Group Sharing - after supper, from 8 pm. The daily schedule had also sessions followed by individual reflection besides prayers, Rosary and Holy Mass. Caritas Directors in Asia as participants had their best three days with reflection and recollection with the help, guidance and sharing of His Eminence Cardinal Tagle. His Eminence Cardinal Tagle based his sharing on the Homily (on 23 May 2019) of the Holy Father for the participants for the 21st Caritas Internationalis General Assembly and the Address during audience (on 27 May 2019) of His Holiness Pope Francis to Participants of the same General Assembly.

During the three days of Retreat in Bangkok through different sessions and homilies His Eminence Cardinal Tagle helped the participants to understand the deeper meaning of what His Holiness Pope Francis wanted to say using the following words and phrases:

  • Charity: what it is and what it is not, importance for going back to God and to true nature of Church and going back to human beings
  • Integral Development: with reference to culture of rejection and of indifference, need for greater attention on spiritual care and preferential religious car
  • Communion: Communion in Christ, Communion in the Church and beyond the Church, Caritas works to become a visible instrument of communion, need for building cordial relationship with our sisters and brothers in need 
  • Courage of renunciation: no cosmetic adjustment but conversation of heart following simple lifestyle 
  • Humility of listening: listening of life, stories of joy and goodness 

His Eminence Cardinal Tagle 's sharing on commodity and personal views of life from the book - Following Christ in a Consumerist Society by John F. Kavanaugh - was very inspiring. This book helps us to know how culture of consumerism shape our views of life ignoring totally the personalism of the Gospel. At the end of the third day His Eminence Cardinal Tagle wanted us to reflect individually on what influences us the most - that I am a person and a gift from the God or I am an object? Do we accept everyone as a gift from the God?  Everything as a gift from Him? I must ponder for days for the questions herein and other similar questions through which he challenged us all.

Sincere thanks and deep gratitude to His Eminence Cardinal Tagle.

Caritas Asia organized a 3-days regional retreat for Asian Caritas Directors and was attended by 36 Participants of 21 MOs, Church in Malaysia, and M&R Section from 7-9 October 2019 at Camilian Center, Thailand.