Men's Emmaus Retreat
by Larry Barfield
In early 1985 several men from St. Louis Catholic Church,
along with Fr. Jim Fetcher, were discussing what kind of Ministry would be good for the Men. The present Mens club was not very active and the Hard Hat Ministry was very active, but not very
Spiritual in its goals.
The men needed a ministry that would reach in to the heart of the Parish and pull out those men who “came to church” but were “not involved”. We felt if we could somehow allow these men to look at their relationship with Jesus Christ and let the Holy Spirit work in their lives, they would and could appreciate the Catholic Faith all the more.
We had Catholic Cursillo available, but we could only send a very few men from our Parish at any one time and they needed to already be on their walk with the Lord. The women of our Parish had a great retreat started several years earlier call Emmaus. The men looked at this retreat and decided it contained all the elements we needed, with just a few changes.
Our goal was to change the goal, and rewrite the weekend to be more in tune with what men need. The basic outline was kept but some items were added and some altered.
The team was formed and the first Mens Emmaus was held at the Dominican Retreat House. The first weekend there was no rose symbol, the first symbol was a model house we assembled to represent all the elements we now see in the Rose.
The first Emmaus team consisted of:
Jim Loretta, Larry Barfield, Howard Werner, Bob Colasanti, Bill Fogarty, Marty Jacobs, Sal Difede, Sid Glaser, and Bill Denight. The team formed, met, prayed, and went to work attracting candidates. The results of the weekend were the same as they are and have been for every weekend since, staggering. The Holy Spirit was very strong during that first weekend, showing the team the way and letting the team know to move out of the way.
Eventually, one of the candidates from a previous weekend called to say they would like to have the same retreat at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church. A group of guys from St. Louis went to St. Brendan’s and put on the first “not at St. Louis” Mens Emmaus weekend. It was held at the youth center next to Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove. Next came St. John Neuman’s Catholic Church, and on and on.
Men's Walk #74
Women's Walk #75
Baptist Hill Camp
Mt. Vernon, MO
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