THOSE of us directly concerned with the running of retreats are daily exposed to two vital requirements of the retreat movement — retreats must be properly and efficiently rum and the speakers must be of the right calibre.
It was with an awareness of these requirements, plus an overall objective to promote more retreats, that in 1970 the National Retreat Council (NRC) was officially constituted.
Basically, the NRC promotes mote and better retreats. This involves several things. It investigates locations considered suitable for retreats. It sends out information and advice to those who enquire about retreats. Its members encourage others to go on retreat, and so spread the whole idea of personal spiritual renewal.
The NRC also organises seminars for retreat directors and those engaged in counselling. These are aimed at giving retreat directors the benefit of the latest thinking and approaches in all fields of spirituality and points out trends in current lay thinking, so that the content of retreats is meaningful and relevant.
The NRC also holds an annual conference for its members, based on a spiritual theme. Next year's conference is being held at Damascus House from February 24-26 on Liturgy and Worship in Retreat. The two-day conference consists of pertinent lectures and workshops in which those attending are fully involved.
To keep going and to fulfil its commitment to more and better retreats, the NRC always welcomes new members. Anyone who feels they wish to promote the retreat movement are eligible to join the NRC and attend the annual conference. Just write to the secretary at The Convent, 50 Bookie Road, Newmains, Wishaw, Lanarkshire ML2 9AP, Scotland.
Fr Doyle is Director of Damascus House and chairman of the National Retreat Council,
Accommodates 100 in single rooms; three lecture rooms, two chapels, library and lounge.
Damascus House was opened four years ago by the Vincentian Fathers to provide retreat and conference facilities for groups and individuals who want to examine life in the light of Christian awareness.
Many groups of sisters, priests and brothers come to Damascus House for their annual retreat. It is used extensively for sixth. form retreats and youth meetings. About 3.000 teenagers spend some time each year in Damascus House.