From the Director's Desk
There is good news to share: Immaculate Heart Retreat Center is up and running, not because the Covid-19 pandemic has become history, but, ironically, because of its continuing grip on our community. Commencing August 1, IHRC’s building has been licensed as a Coronavirus quarantine center. Thanks to the collaborative effort of the Diocese, Catholic Charities, and the Spokane Regional Health District, the Center now is home for vulnerable individuals who need an environment to be socially distanced and medically safe.
We certainly must acknowledge this development as an answer to prayer. Because the Coronavirus forced the cancellation of the spiritual enrichment programs offered by IHRC, its financial viability was very much endangered. The gates of heaven were shaking from some rather heavy prayers to St. Joseph the Provider.
The decision to transform IHRC into a quarantine center was not foreign to our mission. Our staff and advisory bodies readily realized that the use of IHRC in this manner actually is a valuable extension of our mission as a place of hope, peace and healing. Those three elements are the pillars of our ministry. We seek to bring hope of all those who walk through our doors.
Hope is a virtue, a necessary source of spiritual strength. It is so much more than a wish, or a dream - like anticipating a passing grade on a test, or a desiring a raise in pay. For people of faith, hope is central to our walk with God. It is a form of deep trust in Divine Providence. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Hope does not try to determine ahead of time how God will show himself; rather, it remains open for new and astonishing manifestations of his care and love.
In that sense, hope is the foundation for prayer, especially in the circumstances facing us all nowadays. As we strive to remain dependent and open to grace and blessing, God has met our needs in a very unexpected way. Even a few months ago, no one would have ever dreamed that IHRC would become a major quarantine center! Yes, God leads his hopeful people and answers their prayers in truly surprising ways.
While the transformation into a quarantine center gets underway, the more specific ministry of spiritual enrichment entrusted to IHRC will continue. Technology will support the provision of some programs and activities, including daily Scripture reflections, televised Mass, and spiritual direction. Likewise, the Center’s staff and advisory groups will continue to connect via home computers and meetings at various places. And we do so with hope in God who always is full of amazing blessings. As Pope Francis reminds us, "There are different moments in life, but with hope the soul goes forward and looks ahead to what awaits us." Please join us in prayer, listening and hope!
Your servant in Christ,
Deacon John Ruscheinsky, Director, IHRC