We love a good get-together! Whether it’s a simple family dinner, a party, a CORE meeting, or even something as large and involved as an International Council Meeting (ICM), “Celebrating together” with each other and with other people that we care for recharges our batteries.
Retrouvaille reminds us all to value our couple rituals. They can include so many things: trips to a favorite destination, “adventure vacations” exploring new places together, a weekly date night, a monthly couples book club, or any other way that you - as a couple - connect and bond with your spouse. On a larger scale, the ICM is the ritual that connects the members of the international community of disciples to each other and it is just as important for the health and growth of our global ministry as date night is to our marriage.
Have you been to an ICM? Certainly, some of you reading this have been to several. Each one is different from all the rest, but each is wonderful - an expression of the best qualities and shared values of the host community or communities. This year, in honor of Retrouvaille ‘s Fortieth Anniversary, the theme of the ICM is “Welcome Home.” It will be a wonderful, well-deserved and fitting time for the whole Retrouvaille family to celebrate together. We are so looking forward to coming home to the birth place of Retrouvaille – Canada!
But what good is a family reunion if many of the cousins cannot attend? Retrouvaille has expanded to the point where there are a significant number of communities who, even with strong attendance, generous donations and careful stewardship, will always face a prohibitive cost to attend the ICM. Therefore, we ask you and your community to thoughtfully consider donating to the ICM Travel Assistance Fund. That fund helps couples and priests from all over the world come to the ICM to share their perspectives and ideas. We know that when one of our family members is not with us at a major family event, the event is just not the same! Similarly, we are impoverished as an international ministry if we miss the opportunity to know our brothers and sisters from around the world. To draw a comparison from our family these days, a hand is not a vital organ like the heart or lungs, but when you can’t use one of your hands you realize how much harder life can be. If you have been financially blessed, please share that blessing with others! If you have travel miles or points, those can be donated too and will be put to good use. We would love to have all the communities in Retrouvaille represented at this 40th anniversary!
Large, important events require preparation. We ask that coordinators, chaplains and any other voting member of a community come to the ICM having considered each proposal carefully and prayerfully. Discuss the pre-ICM packet with your communities. Would the proposed change help us serve more hurting couples? Would it provide a significant improvement to our program? Do the changes enable or constrain servant leaders as they work to advance the mission of the ministry? We ask that you take advantage of this time before the ICM to ask questions if you need more clarity about a certain proposal. The International Board is planning to host on-line meetings for open discussion of each proposal before the ICM. Remember that in all things, prayer is key to guiding the ministry in its decisions!
We look forward to seeing each of you in Canada, the birthplace of Retrouvaille! May we each get to share delightful conversations, learn something new, grow closer to our Retrouvaille family, and, most especially, may we each feel the love and hope that is ever present in Retrouvaille!
May God bless you and your families! You are in our daily prayers. Please pray for us as we serve each of you!
With our love and prayers,
Rosemarie, Chris and Fr. Terry