“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy”. Our community has experience a great retreat and I want to share it. During the weekend of December 3-5, 2021 the very first retreat of the Little Seeds of Emmaus took place in Spain through the Parish of Santo Cristo de Calvario de Marbella. I will explain to your briefly how the retreat began its roots in Spain. In 2005 the adult groups of the Emmaus retreat in Columbia decided that they would organise an Emmaus retreat for children and teenagers so that the youth could take part in the life changing spiritual experience of really meeting Jesus. The first retreat began in Cali in Columbia and soon branched out in to other areas of Columbia such as Bogota and Manizales.
In 2018 a family arrived here at Calvario Parish from Columbia: Jaime, Jhoanna and the little Alejandra. When they arrived Alejandra had just participated in an Emmaus retreat for the youth through her old parish of Villamaria de Manizales in Columbia. They told of their experience with such fervent enthusiasm that it quickly awakened a strong desire in families, catechists and many members in the parish to experience the same encounter with Christ through the Emmaus retreat. To establish an Emmaus retreat in a parish it firstly has to be sponsored by another parish which have already held a retreat. It was easy for us to obtain the sponsorship through James, Johanna´s and Alejandra´s former parish in Villamaria de Manizales.
Since 2018 a post communion group which is now called «Semillitas” have worked incessantly in our parish. The group is extremely active and holds its catechesis lessons in three groups consisting of children of different ages, each Friday the youth attend a music school where they play the organ, guitar and percussion instruments and sing.
Since May 2021 the group have begun having meetings through Zoom on the internet so that they may develop a greater understanding of the retreat, learning about it in detail.
The group of Emmaus pilgrims in our Parish was firstly formed among the Emmaus group of adults and young people who had participated in the “Effeta” retreat that today make up the Calvario youth Community.
Four young people from Manizales with great experience were chosen to come and support the retreat, Nancy, Mallerly, Luis Miguel and Jaison. This year´s retreat took place in the Salesian college of Antequera with the attendance of 70 youth split in to three different age groups. 7-9 , 10-12, 13-15.
Some people say “today miracles are very scarce”!. However having experienced the first retreat of the Semillitas of Emmaus I can assure you that I have witnessed amazing miracles in the hearts of the youth who attended the retreat. When God enters someone´s soul beautiful things begin to happen, Our Lord is a wonderful craftsman who knows how to eliminate the things that eat away at our hearts, wounds, afflictions, envy, offenses and deficiencies. He encounters the empty spaces in our hearts by filling them, cementing them with his merciful love so that they become whole, healed and restored. The Lord has also provided us with the wonderful gift of “new vision” because he makes everything new. The retreat has been an incredible spiritual gift for the children involved and for their families. May it be repeated and extended throughout our Parish and the world. May all this be accomplished for the glory of God.
Rafael Rodriguez Sainz de Rozas, parish priest.