Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual help | 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
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.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett