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The Florida Catholic

Ministry retreat focuses on five keys of prayer

PALM BEACH GARDENS  |  The Diocese of Palm Beach’s Office of Faith Formation presented a retreat Aug. 19, 2023, to help parish leaders in catechetical and youth ministries and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team members to prepare for the new year, which will officially begin Sept. 17, with Catechetical Sunday.

The morning, attended by more than 100 parishioners, focused on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ theme for Catechetical Sunday, “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened” (Mt 11:28). Liliana Soto-Cabrera, diocesan director of faith formation, said the retreat was an effort to offer spiritual nourishment to those who teach the Catholic faith. A welcome video from Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito was shown to the retreatants that expressed his appreciation for their work.

The retreat was structured using basics from the Unbound Prayer Ministry since it fit with the theme, said Cathy Loh, director of the Office of Marriage, Family Life, Faith Formation and Youth Ministry.

“If we come into things with burdens, we tend to minister through those,” she said. “So, we thought it’d be great to offer them an opportunity to set those things down.” The program presented the five Unbound keys that allow access to God’s grace and help people unburden themselves.

Loh said the five keys are: repentance and faith, forgiveness, renunciation, authority and receiving the Father’s blessing. “Basically, the flow of the day was that God wants to bless us, but if our arms are folded and held, we’re not open to receiving. Then we took them through those five keys and brought them to the Father’s blessing at the end,” she said.

“It was very well received. People were very joyful when they left. I think they appreciated having something for their own spiritual well-being,” Loh added. Those sentiments were confirmed by the comments received from those who attended the retreat.

“Giving us the time to focus on ourselves and where we are in our faith, and helping us realize we are not in this alone, is priceless! And you did an outstanding job of helping us to experience this wonderful reality,” said one attendee. Another said, “Loved how the talks led us deeper into prayer and closer to the Lord.”

To learn more about the work of the Office of Marriage, Family Life, Faith Formation and Youth Ministry, visit or follow them on Facebook.

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