Monday, March 9, 2009

Retreat with the Hermits of Bethlehem

Please say a prayer for yours truly, your humble blogger! I will be on retreat this week with the Hermits of Bethlehem in Chester, NJ and am looking forward to the prayerful silence! The blog will be updated everyday by posts that I prepared ahead of time, but I won't be back until Sunday. Below is a former post of mine on this Hermitage and folks who live there. Be assured of my prayers for all of you who visit this site! God bless each of you!

Before my ordination I was blessed to spend a week with the Hermits of Bethlehem in Chester, NJ. It is a beautiful secluded spot in northern New Jersey that I had never heard of before. I was a bit nervous to spend a week with "hermits" and had not idea what to expect. It turned out to be a remarkably prayerful experience and a wonder way to prepare myself for ordination. The founder of the community was a diocesan priest from Paterson, NJ named Fr. Eugene Romano. He is a very grandfatherly man who is exceptionally welcoming. His story and the story of Bethlehem Hermitage can be seen on the video. It provides a history of the place and a brief exploration of how the hermits live and why they chose to do so. The program emphasizes that the hermits do not seek to isolate themselves from a suffering humanity. Rather, through prayer and daily sacrifice, they seek to serve the Church and to be a spiritual support for all who are actively involved in carrying out the mission of Jesus. I have occasionally driven up to the hermitage just to make a visit to the chapel and to pray. It reminds me of my ordination retreat and the challenge to live my Salesian priesthood with devotion. I hope you enjoy this half hour in a hermitage!


Brittany said...

I'll be praying for you, Fr Steve.... have a great retreat!

I visited the Community of Bethlehem in Livingston Manor, NY a few years ago. I know Fr Eugene Palombo had gone there at some point, as well, as I found his name in the guestbook!

Bob and Penny Hall said...

Good evening,

My wife and I lived in Chester NJ from 1975 to 1980. Early on, we met Father Eugene Romano and heard his call for support in building his center for prayer. My wife donated the money he needed to build the chapel and we became very close to him and his hermitage. Would you please let us know how we can reach Father Romano so that we can renew our friendship.


Bob and Penny Hall
Easton, MD

PS: We are reaching out to anyone who has a connection with Father Romano because we have written to the Patterson Diocese several times without a response