CEDAR CITY — The Catholic Women’s Council at Christ the King Parish in Cedar City celebrated its spring retreat with a new topic this year.
The retreat’s theme, "Living in the Hood – The Priesthood," was presented by Monsignor Robert Bussen, Christ the King pastor.
Usually the CWC has two retreats per year, one in spring and one in fall.
"This year, since Father Bob is new to our parish, we thought it would be very nice for him to be the presenter so we can get to know him on a more personal level," said Donna Fray, a CWC member.
The retreat gathered 45 women from diverse parts of the Southern Deanery, such as Panguitch, Escalante, Beaver and Cedar City.
For Mary Hartey, one of the participants, the retreat was an opportunity to share faith experiences and get to know more Catholic women.
"It’s very uplifting for the women, and it is kind of a renewal for all of us to gather with other women from all over the state of Utah; we share experiences and programs and activities and things that we are all involved with in our local parishes," said Hartey, adding that the retreat "is giving us a stronger awareness of our faith and an opportunity to meditate and think about the things that Father Bob has presented and hopefully be better people."
For Mary Barns, from Escalante, the day was a great opportunity to mingle with other Catholic women. "I had never been to one of these retreats before," she said. "I wanted to be part of a larger Catholic community since I live in a small one and there are just two other Catholic women there."
When the retreat first was discussed, the CWC suggested two different topics to Msgr. Bussen.
"They had two topics; since I am new here and they wanted to know me better, they asked me to talk about my life and they also wanted to know about the Camino pilgrimage, so I asked them which one they would like me to do and they said, ‘Well, we want to hear a little about you,’" Msgr. Bussen said.
This was the first time that he presented a retreat in which the topic was himself.
"I have never done something like this. It’s very unusual for me to do, but it seems that it worked," he said. "What I wanted them to understand is that the life of a priest is not extraordinary, it’s ordinary; that my life and their life are the same. We have parallel lives."
After the retreat, the women came out energized and happy to have had the opportunity to learn more about the life of their pastor, who was assigned to the parish last August.