2019 Mission Retreat
“Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person...” -- Benedict XVI
“Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart?”
-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
“We love, because He first loved us.” -- I John 4:19
“It is Jesus who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” -- Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2560.
In the fullness of activity that makes up most of our lives—family, church, work, sports, the ups and downs of everyday tasks—we spend a great deal of energy attending to the immediate. We focus on what needs to happen now and on how people, events, circumstances are affecting us right now. Yet there is more. Each of us is marked by our own history; each of us carries joys, struggles, aspirations, disappointments, delights and sufferings within. And then still more: Deep within the Friend beckons. “There is a river whose streams delight the city of God.” “Where are you?...I thirst.” “Be still, and know that I am God.” “Remain in me....Apart from me you can do nothing.” And our hearts resonate: “For you I long, for you my soul is thirsting.” “How lovely is your dwelling place...a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere!” “Lord, I love the house where you dwell, the place where your glory abides.” “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Our parish mission is a time to become aware of the desire for God that God desires to put in us. What does our Father see when He gazes on us? What do we really long for? What kind of prayer truly connects us with Him? What practical helps are there to remove obstacles to prayer and relating to God?
Deacon Joseph Michalak, M.A.T.
For over ten years, Deacon Michalak lived as a member of a lay ecumenical brotherhood and served in evangelistic, catechetical, and formational work in Michigan, London (England), and Minnesota. Since 1997 he has been adjunct faculty in theology at the University of St. Thomas and at the St. Paul Seminary and is an instructor in the Archdiocese’s Catechetical Institute and in the new School of Prayer.
Deacon Michalak is now in his nineteenth year as Director of the Institute for Diaconate Formation at the St. Paul Seminary, and he has preached diaconate retreats or taught moral theology, virtue formation, the spiritual life, or homiletics in over 35 dioceses. In 2012 he had the privilege of preaching the preordination retreat for the first permanent deacons ever to be ordained in Dublin, Ireland, and this past August preached the pre-ordination retreat for the first men to be ordained in Belfast. For six years Deacon Michalak served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) and continues as faculty in the NADD’s National Directory Institute.
Deacon Michalak and his Scottish wife Anne have five children. Though in exile in Minnesota from his boyhood Pittsburgh home, Deacon Michalak remains an avid Pirates and Steelers fan, and, as a good father should, has passed that love on to his children. Deacon Michalak was ordained in September 2010 and serves at Holy Spirit parish in St. Paul.