This year, illness cancelled group meetings, interrupting my 13-year-old son’s confirmation preparation. So I designed a personal retreat to supplement the group meetings and deepen his experience of the sacrament of confirmation. Then I asked for feedback from parent and catechist reviewers in a variety of settings. We hope this retreat can be adapted for use with individuals or groups of any age who are preparing to receive the Holy Spirit!
You can download the Gifts of the Spirit Personal Retreat here, with artwork by Joan Bratt.
One portion of the retreat is planning group prayer. Our personal retreat had three participants–my son, his sponsor (my father-in-law), and myself–and we divided up the planning responsibilities. If you have a larger group, you can assign one individual or a planning team to make these decisions for group prayer.
Beforehand, I gave my son the following list of forms of prayer and asked which type he would like to use on his retreat:
- Eucharistic Adoration (Holy Hour)
- Rosary (Meditate on the Mysteries)
- Liturgy of the Word
- Liturgy of the Hours
- Pentecost Liturgy (CGS)
My son chose Liturgy of the Hours. Years ago we joined the monks of Genessee Abbey to chant the psalms before buying their delicious Monks’ Bread. Beyond that vague memory, he didn’t know much about it.
So I asked my son’s sponsor (my father-in-law) to plan this section for us. However, I recognize many families may not have as much experience in all of these devotions. The Catholic tradition is a vast treasure chest and one person can hardly explore it all in one lifetime!
Here are resources to learn more about some of these gems, and plan group prayer for your own retreat:
Eucharistic Adoration (Holy Hour)
- “Beginner’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration” (2021) by Sarah Zentner
- Printable booklet of traditional rite in Latin & English (2007) by Adoremus
- Eucharistic Adoration teaching resources on Teachers Pay Teachers
Rosary (Meditate on the Mysteries)
- “13 Tips for Praying the Rosary with Kids” by Jerry Windley-Daoust
- My favorite resource: “Scriptural Rosary” by Christianica Center (1961)*
- “Mysteries of the Rosary Coloring Book” by Mustard Seed Training (that’s us!)
- Printable prayer cards, stationery, bookmarks and more for the Mysteries of the Rosary
Liturgy of the Word
You can find today’s readings (in English or Spanish) from the USCCB. 12-year-old Sean (now Confirmed! Woohoo!) explains how to pray the Liturgy of the Word with a family or small group (2020):
- TheAngelusPrayer.com by Jared Dees (prayer in English & Latin, app, and book)
- “How Do You Pray The Angelus? A Visual Step By Step Guide” by Silvana Ramos
- “Angelus” by USCCB
- Angelus in Gregorian Chant by Monks of the Abbey of Notre Dame
Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office)
- Abbey of the Genesee “Description of the Divine Office”
- Recorded Lauds and Vespers by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
- Divine Office website & app (for use in USA only)
- eBreviary: Liturgia de la Horas in English, Spanish and Tagalog
Pentecost Liturgy (CGS)
CGS stands for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. This method offers a special way of reflecting on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit with children, which can also be used for teens and adults:
- “Parent Pages: Family Feast of Pentecost” by CGS USA
- “Pentecost with Mary Mirrione” The Good Shepherd and the Child Podcast Episode 12
Please comment and add your own suggestions!
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