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I come from a working class family that were not practising Catholics by any means. I led a life in fear of my father and, being the youngest of ten, it was difficult to be noticed by my siblings. They were from 5 to 20 years my senior and I was always pretty much the last to know about anything at home until it happened. My father was somewhat peripatetic as he moved from home to home and job to job all through his life.

As I changed schools, year in and year out it wasn’t easy to make friends and I relied pretty much on my education to get me through life. I studied at University and have had a reasonably successful career so far. However, home life was never easy. My family were 80% against the Church and we’ve had problems with depression, murder and suicide in our family. Something was clearly wrong and for some reason I always had a feeling that God may have been watching over me.

It was never easy to remain close to God as I never really understood the beauty of being a Catholic. After reading all sorts of Anti-Christian literature such as “The Da Vinci Code” I began to look at other Fraternal Organisations and soon found out that they were not from God. I became afraid and wanted to seek help from Christ. I was lapsed, educated and spiritually bereft.

I met Fr Bill in 2007 at the Healing Mass in Dromantine. After about 2 hours of his teaching/preaching I said “I’ve got to do this Retreat”! So, I booked a place in Knock for April 2008 and looked forward to it. Sadly, Father Bill passed away in March 2008 and we had the chance to become introduced to Fr Anthony, Fr Bill’s successor. When I attended I had a lot of worries about why I was there. I soon found out by the end of day four that the reasons were not so much for my family (as I had thought), but it was for me, and what I had experienced as a boy!

The retreat is all about accepting who you are, learning about Jesus, experiencing Him and then dealing with the problems we have in life that are specifically related to our sinful lives. We gain an insight as to what it takes to recognise the love of Jesus Christ and actually how easy it is to accept Him into our lives. The retreat saved my life, and I will never forget it.

My advice to anyone is to attend the 6-day retreat, take it as it comes and be ready to realise two things:

What Life is really about
Realise that God loves us!
I am a very well educated individual, who never attended Mass let alone really acknowledged my Church in recent years. The Fr Bill/Anthony Retreat has really made a difference. I recommend that those who read this should do the retreat and stick with it…….Miracles will happen!!

Anonymous

Northern Ireland

Meine Erfahrungen bei den Exerzitien mit Pater Anthony in Johannistal

Lobpreis, Dank und Ehre dem dreifaltigen Gott, der uns allen so einen begnadeten Nachfolger für Pater Bill geschenkt hat.

Pater Anthony ist noch so jung und trotzdem schon so tief geprägt vom Glauben, Vertrauen und von der Liebe zu Jesus und den Menschen. Die vielen Beispiele aus seinem Leben haben die ausgesprochenen Bibelstellen noch mehr verdeutlich und anschaulich gemacht.

Pater Anthony war in großer, ehrlicher und aufrichtiger Weise sehr bemüht, unsere Herzen zu Jesus zu führen, auf dass wir die Liebe Jesu annehmen und mit Jesus in inniger Gemeinschaft leben. Diese Schönheit des Lebens, bei Jesus zu sein in jedem Augenblick, hätte er nicht besser verkünden können.

Wertvolle Hilfe war mir auch, als er uns auf die verschiedenen Gefahren im Glaubensleben hinwies.

Viele Glaubenswahrheiten sind mir neu bewusst geworden, die verschiedenen Bibelstellen haben sich mir neu erschlossen.

Mein Glaube, mein Vertrauen und meine Liebe zu Jesus sind weiter gewachsen. Ich bin überglücklich!!!

Von Herzen Dank an Pater Anthony für sein Kommen, Dasein, sein Verkünden des Evangeliums und für all seine Mühen.

Beten wir gemeinsam, dass Gottes Reich gelebt durch Pater Bill, jetzt durch Pater Anthony sich immer mehr ausbreitet zur Verherrlichung des dreifaltigen Gottes und zur Rettung der Seelen.

ERNA G.

The best retreat I was at in my whole life. It was simply wonderful. I feel young again and the experience was great. I heard all new things that I never heard before and learned a lot from Fr. Anthony’s retreat even at this ripe old age of 89. All I wish is that I was younger for more of these retreats. Hope to see you soon again. God is good, all the time!
Mary
Meeting Fr. Anthony and listening to his ‘stories’ was the highlight of my retreat. He brought home to me what I was missing in everyday life with his simply analogy. His humour was also infectious and lifted many a sad heart. Thank you Fr. Anthony for helping me get over the death of my beloved son who died earlier this year.
Kathleen
When I was traveling to Dromantine on Sunday for my first retreat, after years of my family pushing me to go, I began to feel peace. Over the week, through Fr. Anthony’s teachings, I have renewed my faith and belief in the Church and Jesus. The week has not been easy and getting back on the path to God and staying on that path will not be easy, but will be rewarding. God has given me many gifts and has now cleansed my soul. I shall praise Him and try to keep His Word.
Joe
I found Fr. Anthony’s teaching to be so interesting and meaningful. His love for Jesus is so evident. He is full of joy and love. The retreat has given me the desire to follow this path. Thank you Jesus.
BRIAN
What a wonderful experience. Fr. Anthony is a very holy man. Fr. Bill would be and is very proud of you. Thank You Jesus, Praise You Jesus. Margaret
During my retreat with Fr. Anthony, Jesus touched me and gave me a new direction in life.

Thank You Jesus.
Dan

On the evening of May 11th, 2008, I arrived at Dromantine for my retreat. As I waited in the lobby to check-in, I turned and saw a man standing on the stairs in a dark coat. I had NO idea who he was but as I looked at him, all I can say is that I saw Jesus Christ in his eyes. It was the most purest sight and feeling I have ever had. The holiness in him was so evident. I later realized when he came in to greet us that it was Fr. Anthony. What a gift we had been sent. After Fr. Bill’s death, I felt lost, he was so great. On our last day of retreat, I thought I had received enough gifts and blessings, had so many questions finally answered and experienced so much love. Just before Fr. Anthony gave us a final blessing, I closed my eyes and I was in the presence of God as I have never experienced. This man, my brother, Fr. Anthony is a pure gift from God. The world is again a better place, Thank God. Gemma
For a few years I have been working and staying in Ireland. I had an opportunity to join a group of young people coming from a parish in Ireland and go for World Youth Catholic Day in Sydney. I felt I had been called so I answered the call and started to prepare our pilgrimage to Australia.

We travelled to Australia in the beginning of July. It was a very long journey. Australia is a beautiful country with nice and friendly people. During a few days we heard preachings of bishops from all over the world. Their talks were interesting and instructive. The holy Eucharist with the Holy Father was beautiful and full of hope. I met many interesting people from all over the world there.

However, when I returned home, I realized that this experience was more a trip than retreat. Various places that I visited were coming to my mind more than what I heard…

Then I came home to Slovakia. Otilia, one of organizers of the retreat with Fr. Anthony in Nove Zamky called me to participate in this retreat. Last year I was in the retreat of Fr. Bill so I knew what I could expect.

This year I came for only the last two days. During those days I again felt how much the Lord loved me and how important I was to Him. Through the words of Fr. Anthony I really understood who is the Holy Spirit. Fr. Anthony explained in a simple way how the Holy Spirit acts in our lives.

God knew that I had been at the bottom and thanks to His immense love He filled me with a new hope and put great peace into my heart which I have not felt long ago. I went to Sydney and it is the truth that I came back filled with experience but I found the real peace and joy at home in Slovakia, in this retreat for which I thank very much.

I am sure that everyone who is searching for something or is not sure about anything will find God´s answer and it may happen through words of Fr. Anthony. I learned a lot in his talks. God opened my heart so that I could understand what He wanted to tell me. I hope you will get the opportunity to experience this great retreat.
Thank you Jesus, Erika

This year I was fortunate enough to attend two Fr. Bill retreats by Fr. Anthony. I would never have imagined just how special & precious they were going to be.
The quote from the bible ‘Ask & ye shall receive, seek & Ye shall find, knock & the door shall be opened unto you’ became a reality for me as all trace of doubt as to the existence of God and his love for me was completely obliterated.
I consider myself to be quite a curious, questioning person. I like true information & do not like nonsense of any kind. Now that’s out of the way, I’ll try to explain my story……
Before I went on this retreat, I had a few ‘unusual’ experiences that made me wonder a lot. My dad died in a car accident when I was 10 years old. Many years later when I was attending my college lecture – with my mind fully on my lesson – out of the blue I suddenly became overwhelmed with an immensely strong sense of love. This was definitely not ‘self-generated.’ It was somehow ‘external’, as though my Dad or someone like that-was sitting right next to me-to my left hand side to be exact. Still at the time I dismissed it afterwards, not being one to place too much importance on my feelings-I’d much rather read a book instead. Now I know this to have been one of the many examples of God´s grace & goodness to me.

Before coming to my first retreat last April, I was accustomed to feeling inconsolable. I experienced a lot of problems; too many to mention- to the point where I felt pre-maturely aged since I was quite young. Life felt relentlessly severe in many different ways even though I was always trying very hard to do things right. I was ‘running on empty’ etc I could go on….

So that week of the retreat I decided to pray in a serious way to Our Lady at Knock and I do believe that she led me to Jesus. It was as though she instructed me to ‘open my heart’. She interceded for me in a special way and a very helpful encounter with Fr. Anthony came about.
He was very accurate & insightful. Spot on actually! He exceeded my expectations & I got more than I bargained for in some ways.
Well he’s some man for one man and a force to be reckoned with for sure! I have much gratitude & admiration for him. Thank God for Fr. Anthony! I’m sure Fr. Bill (RIP) was over-seeing matters too. It made me appreciate how important priests really are also. I do feel as though I was ‘brought back to life’.
I felt I got a lot of healing at a deep and far-reaching level. It was not in any way short-lived either. I’m not that easily persuaded.

Fr. Anthony explained the Catholic faith in a very informative way and made learning the word of God very interesting & enjoyable. I was absolutely enthralled by his stories (so funny!) & his lessons were really substantial & thought-provoking.
The retreat did challenge me in a big way too, in ways I never would have imagined. E.g. both times I found day 3 hard and then after it was over (it’s a long story) but I would not have missed it or exchanged it for anything (not even a holiday in Fiji, seriously!)

Basically the truth of Jesus Christ and in a particular way the Holy Spirit came alive for me in a very undeniable & ‘demonstrative’ way during these Fr. Bill retreats. I’m still quite astounded & amazed by it all.
Having experienced the love of God my entire perspective has altered in a way I’ll be forever grateful, for – I’m 100% certain – without a doubt- that I have a Father (or two) in heaven who knows, loves, understands & protects me. I am very re-assured there is a plan for my life. This alone is a miracle because previously I had zero sense of safety.

I also have a new understanding & appreciation of the Holy Mass and also a better awareness of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I want to go often now to come to know Jesus better & to experience his love more & more. The first time I went to adoration after the retreat, I experienced a real physical warm sensation in my heart. Usually now though I feel a ‘gentleness’ I find hard to explain. One thing is constant though and that is that I always leave feeling better & stronger.

Trying to increase my faith and get closer to Jesus has been a very joyful, freeing, experience to me & such a relief. I’m at a loss to describe how glad I am. It’s my opinion that nothing in this world makes any sense without Jesus. I never again want to lose awareness of His presence. He brings meaning to everything.-all the past sufferings & what I face now & in future.
Thank You Jesus. MaryH.

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