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From the Director's Desk
Greetings in the new year, 2021! As we turn the calendar page from a tumultuous and memorable year, we embrace the months ahead with hope and expectation. With the production of vaccines to address the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps our lives can return to some measure of normalcy. We have much to gain from reflecting on the restrictions, suffering, and yes, heroic witness on the part of so many this past year. Above all, we have learned to treasure more deeply the precious gift of life! We must not forget to pray for those who have lost theirs.
Since last August, Immaculate Heart Retreat Center has been serving as a COVID-19 isolation center. Scores of individuals and families have been given refuge in our “home.” The contract the center holds with the Spokane County Regional Health District now applies on a month-by-month basis until the need no longer exists. Eager as we have been to serve others in this unusual manner, we are even more eager for the time when we can welcome the return of God’s faithful for retreats, days of prayer, and other programs of spiritual enrichment. In the meantime, our ministry continues off-site in a frustratingly limited fashion with televised Mass, days of reflection in parishes in the diocese, and spiritual direction sessions. What “retreat ministry” will look like in the year ahead is unknown. A group of planners has been meeting regularly to bring design to an uncertain future. In this regard, I recall Our Lord’s words of encouragement: “…Every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old,” Mt 13:52.
This month I will be meeting regularly with Catholic retreat directors from around the Northwest and Northern California. We will reflect on the experience of this past year and engage in a collaborative effort to share information and resources in order to re-energize the mission of our spiritual life centers. I am very excited about the positive impact these meetings will have on Immaculate Heart.
We are a people of faith and I am confident that we will all receive many blessings in this new year. God bless you and your families.
Your servant in Christ,
Deacon John Ruscheinsky
Director, Immaculate Heart Retreat Center