The John XXIII Retreat Movement of the Diocese of Camden

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the John XXIII Retreat Movement of the Diocese of Camden will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, with a 5:30 p.m. Mass, followed by a reception in the Cathedral Hall.

In July 1973, the first retreat was offered to 24 youths in a farm next to the Parish of the Divine Mercy in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. With the support of bishops and priests, this evangelization movement evolved from a local parish, to national and international parishes, including the United States, Central and South America, and Europe.

In 2001, the movement, which today works at the diocesan and parish level, with Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lindenwold, was first brought to the Diocese of Camden, under the direction of Deacon Aladino Velez. In 2005, Carmen Lopez was appointed to lead the movement, which she still does today.

“We have educated professionals, as well as lay persons, deacons, bishops, priests, and nuns, who have lived the retreat to the fullest resulting in a very unique and beautiful experience,” said Margarita Lugo, president at the parish level for the movement.

“We fall in love with the Lord, renew our Christian vows, and the commitment with ourselves, the Lord, and others; where we all become one with the Lord.”

She also expressed gratitude to the Camden Diocese clergy who have supported the retreat, including Father Patrick Brady; Father Walter Guasp-Santos; Father Salvatore Scuderi; Father Matthew Hillyard; Father Joel Arciga; and Father Bruce Lewandewski, from Philadelphia.

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