SALT LAKE CITY — This year for the first time, Catholics across Utah may participate in the diocesan Lenten retreat from the safety and comfort of their own homes. The free virtual retreat, which will be held Saturday, March 6, will focus on Pope Francis’ 2021 Lenten message, which will be released after our press deadline. (The Intermountain Catholic will print the pope’s message in the Feb. 19 issue).
The retreat will include English and Spanish sessions led by Congar Institute retreat masters Father Roger Keeler, JDL (English) and Father Sergio Serrano, O.P. (Spanish).
Both priests have presented in the diocese before. Fr. Keeler is an assistant professor of canon law at the Oblate School of Theology and former executive director of the Canon Law Society of America. Fr. Serrano is a member of the Dominican Province of San Martín de Porres.
While final details will be confirmed in the coming weeks, the tentative schedule is as follows.
The retreat will begin at 9 a.m. with morning prayer and a videotaped welcome and introduction of the theme by Bishop Oscar A. Solis. Following the bishop’s remarks, participants will be directed to links to concurrent 50-minute presentations by Fr. Keeler and Fr. Serrano in English and Spanish on the Lenten message. (Links will be found at the diocesan website).
For the purpose of the retreat, the diocese will be divided into three sections: north, central and south. Participants will join Zoom videoconferencing groups to discuss special reflection questions led by facilitators from their areas. Other sessions with the discussion groups will be scheduled in the weeks leading up to Holy Week.
“In this time of COVID, the opportunity for spiritual enrichment is a great gift,” Susan Northway, director of the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, said of the retreat. “It really is a gift because of the ongoing need to practice safe distancing and prudent approaches to gathering.”
“This year the retreat is open to all adults and is free and accessible to anyone with a computer or Internet-enabled phone. It has been carefully planned to help prepare people for Holy Week and Easter,” she added.