Has Covid left you wandering in the wilderness – adrift, alone, dry and disconnected? Fifty-three participants answered the Lord’s invitation to spend a weekend with Him at the recent Parish Retreat which was run in collaboration with Catholic Spirituality Centre. We praise and thank the Lord for calling us to come and be refreshed, restored and renewed. 

*This event is organised in compliance with MCCY guidelines

“Though the retreat was targeted at those who have not been going to church since the pandemic, I signed up as I was feeling overwhelmed and tired. Very quickly at the start of the retreat, it became apparent why I was called. Though active in ministries and service in church, I had forgotten the purpose of what or rather who I am doing it for. I was so drained from the doing that I had little or no energy left to bond or build my relationship with God. I needed a restart button to rebuild my spiritual life. Practical tips were shared by the retreat master on how to get that going. Through the praise and worship, session inputs and paraliturgies, I was reminded repeatedly and felt thoroughly loved by God. I left the retreat feeling positive, rejuvenated and more equipped in getting to know my Lord again. And how else better to start than through a commitment to daily prayer and scripture. I am looking forward to an exciting journey ahead!” – Yvonne Woo

“My journey back to the heart of God began in front of the tabernacle. Unmistakably, it was Jesus’ personal invitation to me to attend this retreat. Despite being active in ministry and trying my best to involve my family in religious matters, an alarm bell sounded off. It was after the healing and praying over session, that I realised how disoriented my heart was and how far I have been from the Holy Spirit. It was through praise and worship and the retreat master’s talks that I realise God loves me immensely and He wants to make right the path for me again. Through the retreat, I also realised how in the busyness of life, I had forgotten to turn to God as I became reliant only on my own strength – so much so that I have allowed the work that I do to gradually lose its true meaning. It is only through God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit that the work we do becomes life-giving, in helping to change lives. With an appreciative and grateful heart, I now understand that He wants to orientate my heart back to his by going deeper in prayer.” – Dan Lai

“I dare say that this retreat is far better than any holiday I have been on! It is food for the mind, body and spirit, which I know I needed badly. It not only helped to shift my focus inward, it also healed and softened my hardened heart. There is a sense of inner calm which I hope will help me deal with the demands of daily work stress.” – Francis Edmund Tay 

“This retreat is timely and the content spoke to this lost sheep. My takeaways are 1) salvation has already been given out but it is up to us to take the next step and be proactive in order to be a part of God’s kingdom. 2) My spiritual tank is basically running on empty and needs to be filled diligently. One way to do so is by joining the community or serving a ministry. 3) Miracles do happen as I have seen and felt the Holy Spirit working on me during the healing session. 4) The importance of bonding with Jesus through prayer and meditation. In short, I am glad and thankful that I came.” – Indri Chung

“My biggest takeaway was to overcome my addictions. I cannot just pray and leave it in the hands of the Lord; I have to make a CONSCIOUS DECISION to kill the addiction and make the change! I am going to succeed! I know.” – Joyce Ong

“I used to think that we can’t have time for both God and family but I have been reminded that it is only in making God present in the family then can we experience the goodness in both.” – Donald Lim

“As the theme of this retreat suggested, it aims in helping me get back to the heart of Jesus. It’s not so much about intellectual knowledge but our relationship with God. Our prayer is all about creating a bond with Jesus and I find the simplicity of this message so beautiful. I am thankful to have the chance to be prayed over, to have the Holy Spirit heal and love me. I’m thankful to all who played a part in making this retreat possible.” – Grace Tan 

“The retreat was a great way to reconnect with God as it offered a time without the daily distractions of life. It was for me a time in which I could reflect on the ordinary moments in life and see God in them. And, in fact, a lot of my prayers are answered, just not on my terms, but God’s. It has also reminded me that like prophet Elijah, I had at times sought him in the wrong places, in the loud, big, spectacular moments, when all I need to encounter him is just simply to be still. All in all, the three days reminded me that He who formed and knitted me in my mother’s womb had known me before I was born, and I need to trust God and walk by faith.” – Selena Lok 

“This is a much-needed retreat for me especially after the spiritual drought brought on by the pandemic. Retreat leader Vincent Lee made God’s words and Jesus’ teachings so much easier to understand as words pierced through my heart of stone and dull mind despite me dozing off in stubbornness. The kingdom of God is inside of us, and this is a timely reminder for me to take concrete steps to clean up my life and seek God’s love. If I cannot even make a conscious effort to eradicate bad habits like putting down a cigarette or stop emotional eating, how can I even say I want to follow Jesus? “I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) This scripture passage spoke to me as I felt burnout, jaded and overwhelmed with the guilt of neglecting my family because of work. I finally decided to make a job switch in 2019. I ended up wandering and depending on medication to stay afloat. Just last month, I finally found a job that provided a work-life balance. As I seek for peace, I decided to make a conscious effort to turn my life around and by the grace of God, I came to this retreat. I was finally able to reconcile the past with my life. I know it’s still a journey and I may never always understand God’s promptings, but I’m filled with hope and courage, knowing His plans for me will always be the right ones, in his time. Come back to God. It will not be easy, but I have you and you have me. Together, let us all journey home to the heart of God.” – Joaquine Goh

“The SFX retreat was an awesome experience! I spent three full days with The Lord, where I was able to experience his LOVE (through fellowship with fellow retreatants and buddies), his PEACE (through the healing sessions) and his GENEROSITY and FAITHFULNESS (through the generosity of time given by the service team). I was aptly reminded of this scripture verse to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). – Sandra Lee

“I want to send my gratitude and appreciation to the praise and worship singers and band for choosing appropriate songs and for singing their hearts out. It’s been a long time since I raised my hands and sang my heart out! The sound system and lighting all created a CER-like ambience which made it easy for me to pray with deeper conviction. I am now more committed to prayer and inviting Jesus back into my life.” – Judy Perry

“This retreat has been very enlightening for me. To know God is to be more Christ-like; to love as he has loved us (agape love), to obey (in meekness) and be obedient to the Father’s will. Sin separates me from God. I will not be able to experience the fullness of Him in me if I do not consciously remove sins from me. I pray that I will have the grace and fruits of the Holy Spirit to carry me through and help me overcome temptation and sin in order to live a life closer to Jesus.” – Max Lee

“It was both refreshing and empowering to spend this time with the Lord. I have come to understand the love God has for us as well as to seek his presence in the Holy Spirit whenever I am deep in prayer. To keep Jesus close, we must pray, pray, and pray!” – Nancy Wong

“At first, the thought of a three-day retreat felt a bit overwhelming but it turned out to be just what I needed to refill my spiritual tank! It helped that the programme was not too heavy as retreat master Vincent Lee’s talks were easy to understand. The praise & worship along with the healing and empowerment sessions were all awesome. A big shout out to everyone who worked so hard tirelessly behind the scene and of course to our three shepherds too. My takeaway from the retreat is that one has to be disciplined in spiritual matters.” – Joanne Chia