Sr. Mechtilde O’Mara is the ministry director for Faith Connections. Photo courtesy of Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto

Regis’ Lenten retreat takes aim at busy youth

  • February 13, 2015

TORONTO - Everyone needs spiritual direction at some point in their life, said Sr. Mechtilde O’Mara.

So during the Lenten season, Faith Connections is organizing “a busy’s person’s retreat” called Lenten Listening. The retreat is a six-week program that provides young adults in the Archdiocese of Toronto the opportunity to meet with a spiritual companion to accompany them along their Lenten journey.

“A lot of young people are looking for something deeper and some deeper meaning in their lives. It’s a time of transition for many young people,” said O’Mara, ministry director of Faith Connections, a young adult ministry supported by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.

“Many people always want to get a new start at the beginning of Lent, so (the retreat) gives them the chance to do that and to find out what spiritual direction might be.”

The retreat begins Ash Wednesday (Feb. 18) at Regis College with a group gathering at St. Joseph Chapel with a liturgy, a light supper and an introduction to spiritual accompaniment. Over the six weeks, participants are invited to spend 15 minutes a day in prayer. Each participant will also be matched with a spiritual director in their area and will meet with them three times for one hour.

The retreat closes April 8 with another group gathering at Regis College with a light supper and an Easter party social.
Many of the retreat’s spiritual directors are graduates of the spiritual direction program at Regis College and others are members of the Toronto Area Vocation Directors Association.

“They’re all experienced spiritual directors. It’s not just good intention, but they have the skills and the training to do that,” said O’Mara. “And it’s always good to hear yourself say out loud what you think God is doing in your life… You come to understand by externalizing what it is you are learning about God’s relationship to you.”

“What I’ve heard from people in the past, from people who have e-mailed me this year, a good percentage of people like to continue on with their spiritual director,” said Faith Connections program director John-Paul Markides. “There are groups that would meet for spiritual direction that continue to meet. But it’s not just for those who have never experienced spiritual direction. It’s for those who feel they need a retreat. For some people, a voice of a different person is good in their lives.”

O’Mara and Markides agree that participation is most important. O’Mara said the main purpose is to help people have a profound encounter with Jesus and “to recognize the responsibility and the joy of the Gospel.”
For more information about the Lenten Listening retreat, see  or contact Markides at (416) 467-2645 or Registration is $25 per person.

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