A journey of encounter | experience | embrace
"I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them... No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”...The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms." (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 3)
Koinonia John the Baptist Ireland has been invited by Fr. Gerard Magee (Chaplain to Queens University) to facilitate this exciting retreat programme during Lent at the Catholic Chaplaincy.
The Philip Course isn't like any other faith course. It replaces study with experience and leads us on a journey to hear the promises of God spoken into our life, and to a new or renewed encounter with Jesus, who desires a real and constant relationship with you.
I'm not sure: is the Philip Course for me?
If you are asking this question, the answer is most definitely yes. If you were to speak to any of the team who will facilitate the programme, they'll tell you a similar story: "I didn't think it would be for me. I was looking for something in my life... instead of something I encountered that someone - Jesus - that fulfilled every hunger and need that I had"
Is this you? Here are some typical questions or fears that we encounter:
"I pray. But there’s something missing. I feel dry!"
Come along: Encounter the one who can satisfy your every need- Jesus!
"I know about God. I live a good life. I don’t need to encounter him!"
To be a Christian isn't first and foremost about following a set of rules: it’s an encounter, a relationship with Jesus who loves you, and who calls us to wholeness and holiness as a mirror image of Him who has given everything for you - dying for your freedom and salvation, and rising to bless you with life and life to the full. Do you want that? Come, and give Him the chance to work in your life.
"I'm too busy... I'm stressed... I'm lost... I'm hurting"
There's an old saying 'if you're too busy for God, you're too busy"! Easy said, but not easy to change - right? The Philip Experience provides you with an opportunity - a Lenten commitment with a difference. Come and let Him speak His truth, His peace, His healing, His joy into your life: Hear Jesus call you, speaking this promise for you: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Jesus, Gospel according to Matthew, 11:28-30)
"If you only knew what I’ve done, you wouldn’t want me there!"
You're hurting. You think you've burnt all your bridges. But, you're wrong! Jesus is very blunt in this. He tells us in the Gospel: "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners". It's amazing! And we, each one of us, are sinners in need of this continuous grace. Nothing you can do can make you less loved by Him. He is love, and He's standing with open arms ready to welcome you back home. As Pope Francis shares: "whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realise that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms"
It's your time... welcome home!
Why is it called the 'Philip Course'?
The course is named for Philip in Acts of the Apostles. He meets an Ethiopian who wants to know and understand about God. He's a good man, a man who prays. He's reading the Scriptures during his trip home. But something is missing!
Philip speaks of God’s promises to this eunuch, and introduces Him not to a religion but to a person - Jesus: dead, risen & glorified. He thought he needed knowledge. But this encounter moved Him so much that He immediately asked to be baptised.
He is transformed! The Lord wants the same for you and me this Lent!
When is it on?
The Philip Experience is normally delivered over a weekend. The programme at Queens has been transformed to create one course with four evenings of worship, teaching, testimony and prayer response. The dates for these evenings are Tuesday 13th February (Pancake Tuesday), Tuesday 20th February, Tuesday 6th March and Tuesday 13th March. Each themed evening is from 7-9pm, followed by a cup of tea/coffee and light refreshments. All sessions will take place on the 1st floor of the Chaplaincy. The course is free of charge.
It is designed to be a Lenten retreat. The sessions are full of the rich tapestry which forms the basis of our Christian faith. We are invited to reflect on what God is speaking us individually during the week and to embrace the opportunity to listen to God speak to our lives and circumstances.
This makes it an ideal Lenten commitment, and we can guarantee that Holy Week and Easter will be holy and amazing experience as an ending to this Lenten journey with the Lord.
Throughout the period of the Philip Course, our Consecrated community will be praying for you in particular. If you would like to be added to their email list and receive words of encouragement each day during Lent, please send a message below.
Equally, if you have any need that you want prayer for, send a message below or post a petition to our prayer wall. All of our community will pray for this intention for you during our daily personal and community prayer.
Have you still got questions? Want to chat with someone? Need prayer for something in particular? Contact us!
Help us publicise the event
The course is open to anyone (with a particular welcome extended to students and young adults, as well as the wider QUB community).
So, come along and bring a friend. Perhaps you know someone who'd particularly benefit from it, or you'd like to promote it in your parish or community. If so, here are printable posters and flyers to help.