In May 2022, a Seminar of fasting, prayer and silence was held, which was attended by participants from Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia.
At the beginning of the seminar, Father Marinko Shakota emphasized the importance of restoring the relationship with The Holy Spirit in our spiritual life, which is the first foundation for our soul to grow and walk in the right direction.
One participant shared, “During the catechesis and prayers in which we all prayed together to the Holy Spirit, I realized how much I miss the living relationship with the Holy Spirit in my life. I have a very close relationship with Jesus and Our Lady which deepens and the Holy Spirit has always been on the sidelines. I realized now how much I need just him and his help. It was a very strong moment for me – I understood what to do next… It was also important for me to have an experience of inviting the Mother Mary into my daily situations to better discern what is right. These words helped me, “Where Our Lady is, there is always the Holy Spirit“. During the seminar, I also felt physical suffering, weakness due to fasting. I felt I received a new strength during the Stations of the Cross, where the words were spoken about the importance of connecting our small sufferings with the sufferings of Jesus.
The themes of the seminar became important and relevant for many participants. Father Marinko stressed how important it is to be careful what we accept into our hearts, because this is the food that nourishes our souls and influences us.
In the theme of accepting the cross, one of the participants found a cure for her soul by understanding that this acceptance gives true freedom to her heart. “When I accepted the fact that we have difficulties in my family, peace and joy returned to my heart. Here I realized that I needed to renew the love to my husband, because he is closest to me, he represents Jesus in our home Church. At the seminar, I saw that I could not love him. I am returning home with the fact that I need to work more on my heart: to be more gentle, understanding and accept more people around me.“
One priest who attended the seminar said: “During the seminar I realized that my whole problem is what is called love. I was most touched by the words, “Where there is no love, there is no life…” And at this point I rediscovered Jesus as Love. I realized that without love I am a Pharisee, I condemn others and I do not accept them… I am returning home with the resolution to adore the Blessed Sacrament adoring as often as possible the Blessed Sacrament – true Love – as often as possible!”
A participant from Lithuania shared with us these words, “During this pilgrimage, I had a desire to sacrifice whole journey, all prayers, Holy Communion for Our Lady – for fulfillment of Our Lady’s intentions and express gratitude, because she has helped me a lot. For about three years I have offered the prayer of the Rosary for the realization of her plans.”
A participant from Russia said, “I came here with great pain and sadness in my heart. My heart was deeply wounded because of the war. My main intention was to pray for an end to the war. From the very first days of the seminar, I experienced the living love of God and Our Lady. Instead of anxiety and various negative experiences, I felt my heart being washed by the gracious balm of peace and hope with which I am returning home.”
With great gratitude, we can see how the faces of the participants, filled with sadness, wounds, anxiety, pain and tears, were transformed and filled with peace, light and hope day by day during the seminar. At the end of the seminar, all the participants noted that what had initially divided them – the language, the difference between cultures and liturgical rites – became a moment in which the group was united into one big family.