Koinonia celebrates 100th retreat in Green Bay Diocese
Weekend explores Paschal Mystery in community context
By Tina Klessig
Special to The Compass
"Koinonia," the Greek word for community, is the name of a special retreat experience that brings one to a deeper awareness of Christ, through the celebration of the sacraments. It probes the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and seeks to explore the concept of the Paschal mystery in the context of community. The experience underscores the importance of the individual roles we have as members of the church, serving to draw people closer to one another through the love that is found in the sharing of faith experiences. Koinonia will mark its 100th retreat at St. Agnes Parish in Green Bay on the weekend of Sept. 15-17.
An estimated 1,284 candidates have come to the Koinonia family in the Green Bay area through retreats given in area parishes throughout the diocese. Bp. Robert Morneau, auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese, became a member of the Koinonia family in March of 1999 when he acted as spiritual director for the weekend held at St. Mary Parish in Menasha.
Many who make a Koinonia retreat have been away from the church for several years, or may not be affiliated with any particular denomination. Some who make the retreat are faithful Catholics looking to further their own growth through the opportunity of sharing their experiences, which the weekend provides. The weekend is also open to Protestants or people of other faiths. Each retreat holds its own special mix of people and experiences.
I became acquainted with Koinonia in March of 1995. I had been struggling with a failed marriage. Having been away from the church for many years, I wasn't sure I belonged. While I had been attending Sunday Mass, I had not formally rejoined the church. One day, a friend invited me to make a Koinonia weekend and there I discovered the deep abiding love of Christ as it was shown to me through a loving community of Koinonians. The love and deep respect that was shown for the church and the sacraments by the people I met influenced me to join the church and to become actively involved in exploring my faith and in ministry through a local prayer group. I have shared my story with many others through talks given at Koinonia and through Life in the Spirit Seminars. I have been participating in Koinonia weekends at least once a year.
Many people experience a reawakening of their spirit as they open themselves to the deep love of Christ that is found on a Koinonia weekend.
One retreatant, Connie Nedohon, an alumni of K-97 held at St. Mary's in Luxemburg this past April, writes, "I still can barely mention Koinonia 97 without tears in my eyes. I went there resentful. I left serene. I arrived full of fears, but left full of faith. I found out the true meaning of the words: 'I'll pray for you.' I was totally blown away -- right into his arms."
Carol Bender of Brussels writes, "My Koinonia weekend was the best weekend of my life! I went there needing a 'break' and left feeling like a 'new person', loving Jesus more deeply than I could ever imagine! He changed my heart that weekend and what a peaceful and wonderful feeling it is! Thank you to all the Koinonia community for showing me Jesus and for being the loving, caring, spiritual people you are. I love you all."
For more information on attending a Koinonia weekend, please contact Lois Pulvemacher, 101 Primrose Lane, Green Bay, WI, 54311 or call (920)469-2671.