Presentations & Retreats

Advent Beauty: Gifts of Comfort, Peace and Hope. This series has three sessions focussing on three Advent gifts. It uses art, music and insights drawn from Northern Light and Word Made Flesh 2021. The Advent Retreat was first held at Our Lady Queen of the World in December 2021. See the videos on YouTube: December 6 | December 7 | December 8. The retreat begins with Mass every evening.

Finding Hope in Dark Times Finding Hope in Dark Times” consists of five sessions that look at how Visio Divina, Creation, Creativity, Beauty and Justice are sources of hope in challenging times. Click here to see videos of previous presentations.

The Art of Catechesis Explore the spirituality of catechesis through the lens of great visual artists. Contemplating visual art leads us into some of the rich themes outlined in the new Directory for Catechesis. Way follow the path of beauty to gain a deeper understanding of how our vocation as catechists draws us closer to the sacred. This presentation has also been adapted for Catholic teachers in The Art of Catholic Education. (1 to 3 hours)

Northern Light Book Walks Les will lead hikes through different parts of the Canadian Landscape that will include stops for contemplating creation. He will include reflections and prayers from Northern Light as well as give insights into the ecology of the places to be explored. The hike length will vary from 1 to 4 hours.

The Via Natura. Let’s explore the Via Natura together. The Via Natura pulls together traditions of finding the sacred in creation with contemporary forms of spiritual practice to ground practical strategies for healing our beautiful yet broken planet. You’ll look at some of the insights from Les’ book Northern Light (September 2020) as well as having the chance to practice his approach to prayer..  

Length: 60 minutes to 1 day       Audience: All

Visio Divina is sacred seeing and is similar to Lectio Divina. We explore sacred and secular art to deepen our spiritual practices. Visio Divina is also a useful tool to nurture our sacramental awareness, our ability to see God’s grace in our everyday lives. Finally we explore how Visio Divina supports ecological conversion in Canada. WFMP Slides

Length: 60 minute presentation, ½ day or full day workshop, 1 to 3 day institute or retreat.

The Sacred Layer How can we respond to Pope Francis’ call for ecological conversion in order to promote new patterns of thinking that will help make planetary survival possible? The sacred layer is a way of understanding creation and our activity as sacred moments and places. We explore how we can become citizens of the sacred layer.

Length: 60 or 120 minutes. York Catholic District School Board Area 2 Slides

The Art of Discipleship Our Catholic school system helps to guide students along their paths of discipleship. We teach most profoundly through our own Christian example. There are are a variety of ways of following Jesus taken by the disciples. Using examples from scripture, art and everyday life we take stock of our own faith journey.  Christ the Teacher Schools Supporting Resources

Length: 60 or 120 minutes

Visio Divina in Our Parish Church is a follow-up session to Visio Divina. We pray with the visual symbols and sacred architecture within our own parish churches. Our Church environment is a visual sermon, always preaching if we have the eyes to see. This sessions awakens parishioners to the visual beauty through which God speaks in our spiritual home.

Length: 30 to 60 minute presentation Audience: Parishioners, students

Our Lady Queen of the World What We See In Our Parish Church

Family Prayer during Advent  The Advent season offers families many different paths to renew our family prayer. This presentation looks at the gift of family prayer throughout the liturgical year with an emphasis on Advent. Length 30 – 60 minutes. Links: The Liturgical Calendar | Advent | Christmas Tree Symbolism| The Advent Wreath | Jesse Tree | The Nativity Scene | Advent Art | Slides from the presentation at St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church Toronto.  Audience: Parishioners

Practical Approaches to Refining Your Catechesis The successful catechist pays attention to the different gifts and circumstances that the learner brings to each session. Learners vary according to first language ability, religious affiliation, background knowledge, learning strengths, and behavioural standards. This complexity poses both challenges and opportunities for the catechist. This workshop provides practical ways of helping catechists increase their repertoire of strategies for negotiating our realities. We will be drawing upon the best of educational and catechetical thinking so that you will leave with new tools for your ministry. It explores ideas presented in Five Core Methodologies for Catechesis. See also resources found on the CARFLEO site: Catechetics | Liturgy | Sacraments | Hyperlinked External Resources

Length: 60 – 120 minutes  Slides: Practical Approaches to Refining Your Catechesis Audience: Catechists

Ambassadors for Christ. Some of us are called to nurture our vocations as Catholic Educators through board Faith Ambassador programs. This presentation explores successful practices of nurturing adult faith within our schools.

Length: 45 minutes to half day  Audience: Educators

The Visual Language of  Our Churches. Our Churches speak God’s language of beauty, in their art, architecture and symbolism. This mini-pilgrimage through your parish Church will help parishioners, catechists and teachers connect more deeply to the spiritual treasure that lies close to home.

Length: 45 minutes to half day.  Audience: Parishioners

Our Lady Queen of the World RCIA

The Joyful Classroom If we are people of joy then we will be better Catholic teachers. This session helps us to be more attentive to joy in our teaching. We will also consider ways of making our teaching even more joyful. The session is intended for all educators and is a positive way to enhance Catholicity in our schools. Participants will be engaged through art, story, music, and guided meditation.

Length: 30 minutes to a full day workshop. Audience: Educators

The Path of Questioning Questions about faith are opportunities for spiritual growth. Knowing how to appropriately respond to these questions is essential for Catholic educators. A further skill lies in the ability to generate and nurture these questions. Attentiveness to questioning becomes both an important pedagogical and spiritual practice. How do we find God in our questioning? How do we respond to challenging questions? How do we create a climate of hospitality for questions? How do we answer questions when we feel we disagree with Church teachings?

Length: 30 minutes to a full day workshop. Audience: Educators and Parents

Driven by Injustice, Drawn by Beauty: A Spirituality for Catholic Educators We can’t give what we haven’t got. Tom Groome tells us that the heart of Catholic education is the heart of the Catholic educator. If our hearts are dried out by the stresses and strains of our life, we can’t be life-giving to students. This session explores ways of rediscovering and rekindling our vocations as Catholic educators. Rediscover what motivates us to be Catholic teachers.

Length: 60 minutes Audience: Educators

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