Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest - Young Adult Spring Retreat


Young adults from St. George in Akron reunite with Sayedna Anthony, their former youth directorYoung adults from St. George in Akron reunite with Sayedna Anthony, their former youth directorBy Khalil G. Samara, Diocese of Toledo FSJD President

After the Fall Fellowship of St. John Gathering in 2011, His Grace Bishop Anthony (then Bishop-elect) encouraged the young adults that were at the Fall Gathering to continue to meet on a regular basis. With no spring meeting scheduled, we decided to plan a Spring Retreat to focus on spiritual renewal and fellowship with other young adults from our Diocese. The weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012 was chosen, and the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, graciously offered their facility as the host location. Over 60 young adults from 13 parishes in our Diocese came together for our Young Adult Spring Retreat, sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine.

The weekend began as we prayed the Akathist service with the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Following the service, His Grace Bishop Anthony began the retreat by introducing the topic “Following in the Footsteps of Christ.” The evening concluded with a Coffee House social in the church's Activity Center so we could relax from the long drive and to get to know each other. We thank Tom and Lillian Saba for planning and organizing the evening social.

After a good night’s sleep, Saturday began with Matins followed by talks led by His Grace Bishop Anthony, Fr. Alexis Kouri (Diocese FSJD Spiritual Advisor), and Fr. Joseph Abud (Pastor, St. George Church, Flint, MI). In the afternoon, we went to visit the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, and then returned to St. Mary’s for Great Vespers. After a short rest following Vespers, we went to Gemmayze Lebanese Kitchen and Lounge in Royal Oak, MI, for a delicious Lenten meal. We came together once again on Sunday morning to celebrate Hierarchal Divine Liturgy with His Grace Bishop Anthony presiding.

The weekend was a great success, and we hope to continue the momentum with future activities for the young adults of our Diocese. We would like to thank many people who made the retreat such a huge success: to Bishop Anthony for his leadership and inspirational talks; to Fr. George Shalhoub, Fr. Jim King, and the faithful of St. Mary’s for their hospitality; to Fr. Alexis Kouri for his talk and guidance as our Spiritual Advisor; to Fr. Joseph Abud for his reflection on the priesthood; to Kh. Sally Ruffin for her assistance with registration; to Stacey Badeen for her help with the hotels; to Dan and Kathy Abraham for their donation of cookies and treats; to the retreat planning committee Kristen Abraham, Amy Ansara, Michael Ansara, Elizabeth & Nick Ayoub, Tom & Lillian Saba, and Khalil Samara, and most of all, to all that attended the retreat. We look forward to seeing everyone at our Diocese PLC in Alsip, IL (Chicago), June 27-July 1, 2012!

Bishop Anthony preaching after Saturday morning Matins serviceBishop Anthony preaching after Saturday morning Matins service Listening attentively to Bishop Anthony's talkListening attentively to Bishop Anthony's talk
Fr. Alexis Kouri, Diocese FSJD Spiritual Advisor, speaking to the groupFr. Alexis Kouri, Diocese FSJD Spiritual Advisor, speaking to the group Group photo of the young adults and Clergy who attended the retreatGroup photo of the young adults and Clergy who attended the retreat