Like a retreat...
Like the annual retreats offered in Opus Dei conference centers around the world, the workshop for Cooperators provides a much-needed opportunity for spiritual renewal. It enables us to stop, step back, get perspective, pray, begin again.
Like the annual retreats, the workshop for Cooperators includes traditional practices of Catholic piety: meditation and Holy Mass each day, Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, family prayer of the holy rosary, examination of conscience in the evening. The workshop includes a few practical talks that help us to consider how we might better live our Christian vocation to holiness and apostolate in the middle of the world.
Like the annual retreats, the workshop helps us to carve out, at least for a few days, one of the most elusive and valuable commodities of modern life: time.
Unlike a retreat…
Unlike a retreat, the workshop for Cooperators is sociable rather than silent (except for a morning of recollection on Sunday). It provides a welcome opportunity to get to know the other men who attend: people with many different backgrounds who share a common desire to live their faith well, in the ordinary workaday world.
A major component of the workshop for Cooperators is serious, focused instruction in Catholic doctrine. To live our faith well, we need to understand it well. We need the conviction that there is no incompatibility between our faith and human knowledge. We need the intellectual confidence that we are able to defend our faith.
The format and schedule of the workshop is the same as the workshops in previous years, but the content of the classes, talks and meditations is different each year. The classes follow a comprehensive, long-term cycle of courses in Catholic theology and philosophy. The topic this year is Theology of Salvation (Soteriology).
On Friday and Saturday afternoons, the workshop schedule provides unstructured time for reading, study, exercise, taking a walk, talking with other participants, etc. Participants are asked to try, as much as possible, to avoid using workshop time for their regular professional work.
St. Josemaria Escriva, Christ is Passing By, n. 10.
“Ours should be the piety of children and the sure doctrine of theologians.”