Franciscans lead WA men to meet Christ on Calvary

22 Apr 2009

By The Record

Men ascend to new heights in Franciscan male spirituality retreat.


Fr Joseph FR celebrates Holy Mass atop Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Ranges.

A PAINFUL but rewarding Lenten sacrificial tradition was launched when 30 young men – young single men, fathers and sons – climbed the two-hour Bluff Knoll ascent as part of the first annual Bluff Knoll Men’s Retreat on March 28.
The Lenten camping retreat, directed by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, included climbing Bluff Knoll, the highest peak in south-west WA at 1094 metres.
The climb up the Knoll was itself a Lenten meditation on the Way of the Cross and the burden Jesus experienced in carrying the weight of humanity’s sins.
After the two-hour climb to the peak of Bluff Knoll, Fr Joseph Michael Mary McShane FI celebrated the Holy Mass along with Fr Andre Mary and Deacon Pierre Nahas.
The theme of the retreat was “Let us meet Christ on the Mountain Top”, which was fulfilled during the Holy Mass in which Christ descended at the words of Consecration.
After Holy Mass all the participants recited the consecration to the Immaculate of St Maximilian Kolbe and were enrolled in the Miraculous Medal. A slightly easier descent back down the mountain followed, through the wind-swept clouds, where participants, including The Record, were refreshed both in the spirit and in the body by the cooling rains.
Though almost all had sore limbs and muscles, many were looking forwards to making the climb in next year’s retreat at Bluff Knoll.
Fr Joseph admitted he found the climb “particularly difficult”, but had the luxury of stopping whenever he liked – something Christ did not have as he was beaten and driven the whole way up Calvary, carrying the weight of mankind’s sins with the Cross.
Being able to celebrate Mass was itself a “great grace”, and that, as the Mass is itself the sacrifice on Calvary, the climb was then “a meditation on our own life and following Christ, and the difficulty and struggles as we face in our own lives”.
“Yet if we persevere we will reach that summit that is Christ,” he said.