Fr. Mike’s Communication for July 18, 2021

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual help | July 18, 2021

Graphic for Father Mike's pastoral letter for July 18, 2021

“The apostles gathered together with Jesus.
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’”

– Mark 6:30-31a

Summer Greetings!

May the Sabbath bring you renewed energy and enthusiasm to fully live out your faith during the week ahead!

As one enters  The Monsignor O’Dwyer Retreat House, youth and adults alike are invited in Jesus’ own words to “Come Apart and Rest Awhile.” The phrase is evidence Christ understands the importance of balance. After all, he was fully aware that those in need of food, shelter, clothing, mercy, healing, instruction, compassion, and love would always be in abundance, at times overwhelming his disciples. During those demanding periods and as his ministry grew, Jesus led by example, showing anyone called to ministry to emulate his strength of purpose, establishing concrete routines of the spiritual life, like taking time each day to rest in prayer.

It’s interesting to note before the Archdiocese of Baltimore acquired the property in Sparks, MD, the Monsignor O’Dwyer Retreat House was formerly the Castaways Country Club. A venue that regularly booked entertainers the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Armstrong. When the property became available for sale, Monsignor Clare O’Dwyer, a then Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) leader, convinced Cardinal Shehan that the teens of Baltimore and surrounding areas needed a “spiritual powerhouse” for Christian growth, renewal, and hope. Inspired by O’Dwyers’ vision, the Archdiocese purchased the Country Club, and what became The Monsignor O’Dwyer Retreat House was established.

And ever since the first retreat held at the retreat house for a group of teens from Mount Saint Joseph in 1963, countless young people have been welcomed there and challenged to discover their giftedness, deepen their faith, and return to their homes, parishes, and schools inspired to make a positive impact. As a board member, I’ve learned first-hand how challenging it is to operate a retreat house while witnessing other Catholic Retreat Centers close their doors when our young people need the safety and wisdom offered at these places now more than ever. The same passion and leadership that led Msgr. Clare and countless others who invested in this space still guide those striving to answer the needs of today’s retreat visitors, including adding a beautiful Marian garden for prayer to a high ropes obstacle course for team building in a discipleship context.

With humility, I would love to encourage your financial support of the retreat house through its annual Raffle, Golf Tournament, or direct donation; my primary reason for explaining the current struggles, though, is to relate to the importance of investing in our young people and strengthening our spiritual family. 

In my own life, the temptation to minimize a personal investment in rest, including quiet prayer and treating the Sabbath as an actual day to recharge and regroup, has been challenging. Then, I remember that proper rest requires investment. We need to establish a plan, set goals, and have others we trust in our lives hold us accountable to remain committed to this vital aspect of self-care. With that in mind, I encourage you to attend a retreat if possible, whether for a few hours or an entire weekend. In addition, stay disciplined daily, working towards a healthy balance of reflection, work, and rest, mindful of giving the best of your day to the Lord in prayer, accepting Jesus’ invitation to rely on his strength and discover the graces he has to offer you.

Some of the key considerations for this week.

  • This morning our Sister Parish, St. Veronicas, celebrated its 75th Anniversary. Please join me in giving thanks for all that their parish community has done to form disciples in their community and to offer a lasting encounter with the Lord.
  • Thank you to all who have helped with our VBS experience this past week. I hope all our families who participated were enriched this week as you listened to the Scriptures, sang the songs with enthusiasm, decorated the crafts, and played great games. I pray that all our families are inspired by God’s Word, regularly sharing the stories of our faith in our homes and learning from the example of so many great witnesses of the faith!
  • The past year has been taxing on all of us. Recognizing the needs in our parishes and among our families, the Archdiocese has begun a new initiative to promote mental wellbeing and assist our communities in coping with the emotional aftermath of the pandemic. The Archdiocese provides internationally acclaimed Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to parish and school staff. If you are interested in joining a cohort of trainers and are a certified MHFA instructor or are interested in becoming one, please send your name, parish, location, and contact information to Mary Ellen Russel at
  • Don’t forget to kick off a new month in the very best way possible, praising our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, at our monthly Festival of Praise (FOP). Join us for our next FOP Friday, Aug 6 at 7:30 pm; our Prayer Teams will be available to pray over and for you!

  • Let’s play ball! Join us for an informal Clergy/ laity softball game hosted right here at OLPH on August 8th at 3 pm. Stop by at 2 pm for fellowship as we offer Burgers, Dogs, and beverages. Click here to let us know you’re attending.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Rev. Michael S. Triplett