A new retreat experience for young people hungry for God.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Scottish charity Mary’s Meals is internationally acclaimed for providing over 1.3 million children with daily meals in school. It has grown from very humble beginnings; what was supposed to be a simple one-off good deed has, over time, become an effective way of helping some of the world’s poorest children. Like the loaves and the fishes, God in his goodness has taken our little offerings and multiplied them. One very special feature of the work of Mary’s Meals is that it attracts the support of children. Amazing young people give their time and share their ideas on how to raise money to buy the food needed for children in another part of the world. Schools are often places which take Mary’s Meals to their hearts, with teachers and students working together to find ways of helping the charity. Their compassionate response to the needs of others is such a beautiful example to the rest of us. However, there is another kind of hunger that children are suffering from in countries like our own – a spiritual hunger. For all the reasons we know only too well – family breakdown, church scandal, the confusion of our times – our children’s faith has been plundered. The sad truth is that they are not just hungry for God, they are starving for his love. As Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Mary’s Meals founder explains,” Many young people in Scotland humble me with their commitment to feeding the hungry. But many of them are hungry too – hungry for the truth, hungry for meaning”. This spiritual famine has inspired an initiative we call, Our Daily Bread. It is another very simple idea. Our Daily Bread invites secondary schools to bring students, familiar with Mary’s Meals, to the place where the charity began, Craig Lodge, for a retreat experience. Craig Lodge Community accompanies the young people and their teachers through the 3-day retreat that includes the chance to visit the famous ‘shed that fed a million children’ and to hear Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, speak about his experiences. Through engaging talks, faith stories, prayer, adoration of the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation, music, the way of the cross hill climb, and plenty of fun and games too, the retreat offers our children opportunities to draw close to Jesus, to open their hearts to him and to receive his love. As one pupil told us, “I especially enjoyed Adoration and Stations of the Cross. I was afraid to go to confession at first but after hearing how other people felt I tried it.”
We hope that Our Daily Bread can help us all to meet Jesus as the bread of life and the only bread that will satisfy us. We are excited about what the Lord will do in our lives through these little retreats. One teacher was surprised at the effect on his students once back in school, “The group met again today to plan their prayer services. I truly am amazed at this and have had no input whatsoever.” We are confident that another fruit of these retreats will be a deeper understanding of the origins of Mary’s Meals and an even stronger desire to reach out to our brothers and sisters living in poverty. Bishop John Keenan who has been involved in developing this outreach is enthusiastic about its potential, “I was amazed at how open our young people were for the spiritual food of meaning and hope. Our Daily Bread Retreats might just be the answer to the hunger for God that is advancing rapidly in our youth all over Scotland.”
To find out how your school can participate in the Our Daily Bread retreat experience please contact Paul Kidd, Craig Lodge Community. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01838 200216