It’s hard to believe that such a busy, wonderful, highly anticipated week has already been and gone. Trish began the 2016 Easter Retreat by explaining to us that Holy week was, in effect, an entire mass spread out over a couple of days. Yet it seemed to go so quickly that it feels like it’s past in no time at all.  

But there was so much going on! On Maundy Thursday we said a (quick) hello to faces old and new before going through into Mass. After which, a period of quiet reflection and watching in our very own Garden of Gethsemane. (Stunningly built by the team in the conference room). There’s nothing like the smell of pine to help you pray in the evening!

Good Friday however was when the real, blessed madness began. We started the proceedings with a short reflection given to us by Father John, then reconvening back in the ‘conference garden’ for prayer stations. A time for all of us to remember and revere Jesus’s journey and the struggles he faced throughout the day. Those who weren’t involved in the Good Friday service followed this with a short walk to the lakeside, partaking in a few games and taking a much required photo opportunity. The sombre 3pm service in Keswick’s Parish Church gave us the time to pay homage to Christ’s passion. The rest of the day was dedicated to relaxing watching a film and rounding the day off with a beautiful Night Prayer given to us by Anke. Friday was certainly, very good.

Whilst Saturday equally felt busy, it was actually really peaceful and relaxing, at least until the Vigil in Keswick. Time was given for reflection and prayer, as well as prep time for Sunday’s mass. Whilst the weather wouldn’t let us go back down to the lake, we did have a picnic in the main lounge with a brilliant little treasure hunt being made by some of the young people. The Vigil down in Keswick was a personal highlight of the week, the musicians were amazing, the readers were engaging and the atmosphere inside the church was inspiring. A shout out goes to the person who managed to light and sustain the fire in the Quality Street tin despite the horrendous weather conditions. The party continued well into the night back at Castlerigg with nibbles, drinks and even a cake made by the lovely Claire!

Easter Sunday had come at last! Jesus had risen and we celebrated by having an Easter Egg hunt, prepared by Sarah H, around the house and the Garden. Chocolate was plentiful and the Mass was fantastic. Different colourful decorations adorned the Chapel! Stars hung from the ceiling with all our names on. The readings were read out so eloquently and Drama was performed superbly (if I do say so myself).

Thank you to all who joined us for the retreat, thank you to all those who helped in any way to make it possible. Thank You to Colin and Claire for the food and the goodies (particularly the Hot Cross Buns), thank you to the Keswick parish who welcomed us into the Church so warmly and who allowed us to take such an active role in the services. Thank you especially to all the Young people who came and made the retreat so special.

May the Blessings and joys of Easter go with you now and forever. God Bless.

Tom, 18 Castlerigg Manor - Keswick