By Jacqueline Vega
The Catholic Daughter’s of America, Court Madonna #2067, hosted their first public retreat at the St. Elizabeth Seton (SES) location on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Initiated by Court Regent Bernadette Labat, the event was held after First Saturday Mass and was also open to other parishes. The retreat began with the praying of the rosary, followed by a light breakfast of muffins, pastries, and coffee. The approximately 60 attendees from SES and other parishes gathered to eat and socialize and were then invited to spend some time visiting the gift table, which consisted of generous donations of books, crucifixes, and other religious items, as well as some baked goods. Over 20 Catholic Daughters were involved the prior evening with setting up the gift table and gift baskets for the retreat attendees.
The first of the two speakers was our very own Father David, our pastor at SES. Because the theme of the retreat was Advent, his talk was about ascension, and he encouraged us to make the remainder of the year, specifically the Advent season, a time of joyful hope, fasting and prayer, as we prepared for the coming of the Lord. One of the attendees, Philomena Kamare, a parishioner from St. Joachim in Youngtown, commented on how “historical” and “put together” his presentation was.
The second speaker was Kevin Moshier, who has experience with chaplaincy and is involved with Friars of the Sick Poor of Los Angeles, California. His presentation was divided into two parts, with the first part about the struggles of serving in the prison ministry and other non-profit organizations. He also talked about those he has worked with and ministered to, including the homeless and those at the Dorothy Kirby prison. Through his demonstration about the diversity in his services, his message was that everyone is called to a journey: “Everyone is called by Christ to love, and God’s love is the most important thing you have.” After he concluded this part of his talk, the retreat then broke for lunch.
The second part of Kevin’s talk was on the history of Saint Nick and the tradition behind gift-giving, and he decided to go all out on this by dressing as him, definitely adding a festive element to the retreat. Then he shared with the attendees his passion for life and revealed that he is a cancer survivor. Kevin discussed the relic of Solanis Casey, which is a medal containing a piece of blessed brown cloth taken from the robe worn by the friar before he died. It is believed that this medal, in combination with prayer, helps those struggling with cancer. Kevin then asked if anyone in the room knew of anyone who is battling cancer, and to our surprise we learned that Maria McClain, a parishioner of SES and a Catholic Daughter, is a cancer survivor. Kevin asked her to come to the podium and gave her a medal in what was a very touching, emotional moment.
Attendance to this retreat was free, with donations accepted. Through these donations and mostly from the proceeds from the gift table, Catholic Daughters were able to raise $660. This amount will be distributed next Spring based upon the decision of the Catholic Daughter Charity fund committee. Catholic Daughters would like to personally thank everyone who attended and participated to make this event a special experience, and also for their generosity. With Father David’s approval, the Catholic Daughters fully intend to spearhead more retreats in the future.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from cancer, you may request a free, blessed Solanus Casey relic badge at Solanuscasey.org.