Katie - Castlerigg Team
I really didn’t know what to expect for the Castlerigg Easter retreat, I was so excited for it but I had no idea what it would be like. I have wanted to go for a few years but other things have always come up so I didn’t get the chance. Being part of the team at Castlerigg has given me the opportunity to get involved in such an important and inspiring retreat.
It was really great to meet young people who were so enthusiastic and so happy to be back at Castlerigg. The Thursday evening consisted of celebrating mass in the chapel and the blessed sacrament was removed from the tabernacle. Sister, Cleophas and I had also spent the previous day transforming the conference room in to a garden of Gethsemane so we spent an hour watching and praying with Jesus, time to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us and how we can use this as an example to sacrifice ourselves for others.
I learnt that the cross is where the anger of people and the mercy of God meet and, because of the cross, we are saved from our sins. We venerate the cross in the Good Friday service to express the thankfulness we have for the sacrifice He made for us. I find it so difficult to even imagine the pain that Jesus went through to save us. We had the opportunity to see the stations of the cross through Mary’s point of view. This helped me to comprehend the sadness and the pain of Jesus and Mary on this day. We also got the chance to reflect upon the Passion of Jesus Christ and how we can relate in some way to each character of the Passion through a creative activity.
Holy Saturday helped me to understand about how we can empty ourselves of our sins and the things that get in the way of our relationship with God. In the evening, we had a beautiful service in the parish church. The music led by both the team at Castlerigg and the music group at the parish was really lovely. It was a brilliant service and filled us all with so much happiness and hope. When we got back, we had a late night Easter egg hunt in the garden at 11pm! The day finished with an Easter vigil party, which was so much fun.
I had a wonderful time on the Easter retreat, I am already planning on going next year! I met some of the most inspiring and lovely people and it was a real blessing having an opportunity to be part of it. I had so much fun but I also learnt so much as well. I always love going to the Easter services in my local parish but I often don’t understand the importance of some aspects of the different services so it was really good to get a better insight in to the Easter triduum. If you are thinking about coming to the Easter retreat one year, I would definitely recommend that you do because you will not regret it!
If you need any more convincing read what some of this years attendees had to say:-
Amy - Carlisle
Amazing experience, my heart is full of joy and has made me realise I want to be baptised.
Alex - Blackpool
Amazing and so relaxed. It brought me closer to God, even more than last time, I get to know more every time and it was great to see and get to know people.
Jess - Blackpool
Loved every minute! As a non-Catholic it has certainly made me think more about how to deal with different areas of life and how Jesus can work through them.
Jess - Fleetwood
It’s my first retreat at Castlerigg, totally different to what I expected, really feel welcomed into a bigger family. I understand the Easter message and walking through each stage of the Triduum made me understand so much more!
Ben - Bury
It’s amazing to see so many people and get the chance to allow our Catholic family to grow. Very thought provoking in our reflection time and this Easter retreat has helped me understand how to pray to God.