Following a seven-day spiritual retreat near Chicago with the bishops of the United States, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain shared his reflections on the week in an email to Northwest Catholic:
“As many people are aware, the bishops of the U.S. came together for retreat January 2-8 in Mundelein, Illinois, at the invitation of Pope Francis. When he issued the invitation, the pope also proposed the retreat director, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan Capuchin priest. The bishops were already quite familiar with Father Cantalamessa, since he has been the preacher to the papal household since St. John Paul II and has authored many books. I’ve been a fan of his for years and often recommend his books to people looking to deepen their spiritual lives.
“The weeklong retreat gave us bishops the opportunity to reflect and pray about our ministry at a challenging time, and Father Cantalamessa was an excellent spiritual guide. He gave two conferences each day and preached at our daily Mass. His writings and his preaching are always centered on Jesus, and he explored with us certain aspects of salvation and how we can live the Christian life and our ministry as bishops in a fruitful way.
“In addition to the daily conferences and homilies, the bishops came together for morning and evening prayer and evening eucharistic adoration. I think the bishops were grateful for this time together, where no business was conducted. The atmosphere of quiet, prayer, reflection and friendship was a real blessing for me, and that was the sense I had from all the bishops.”