1,201 was the magic number of jelly beans, with the First Prize going to Fr. John Moran who "guessed" 1,200. Oddly enough, he's won the past several years.
Providentially, this was also the number of times Frs. Paul Masson, Mike Duggan and I changed keys during the singing of the Passion.
We had the foresight to ask the people to sit, otherwise more than the Lord would have suffered.
Breaking with our vocation retreat tradition, we had no outdoor Stations of the Cross at Maryknoll this year. Instead, the group went to the outdoor reenactment of the Stations held by the Hispanic community of St. Ann's parish, where former Maryknoll Associate Fr. Ed Byrne is pastor. The forecasted rain never materialized, so all went well.
Actually, going to an ethnic parish had been part of our vocation retreats in years past. One year we brought the retreatants down to the Korean parish in Queens, another year to Transfiguration in Chinatown, and when the retreat was at Los Altos, to a local Vietnamese parish.
Another departure from previous retreats was the showing of a NEW movie besides "The Mission" and "Romero". Today's offering was the 2010 movie "Of Gods and Men", based on the true events faced by Trappists in Algeria during the 1990s.
Whether to stay with the people during the increasing terrorism and violence or close the mission and return to France forms the core of this at once disturbing yet edifying movie, befitting Good Friday.
One of the young Koreans who is attending this year, said the retreat was way more interesting than he thought it'd be. So to that degree, it's a success.
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