Last weekend I had the blessing and privilege of helping out with the John Paul II Healing Center’s Undone: Women’s Conference at St. Mark Catholic Church in Huntersville.  It was a beautiful experience and I’m grateful to Our Lord for allowing me to be a part of the retreat team for the weekend.  I was just a team member and not a participant, and Our Lord worked and is still working some beautiful healing in my heart.

If you have never heard of the JPII Healing Center, I encourage you to check them out.  It was formed by Dr. Bob Schuchts after he experienced Our Lord’s healing embrace in his own life and his family through prayer, the Church and the Sacraments.  He and his staff have been offering retreats and leading conferences for a number of years now and the demand for their ministry is increasing rapidly.  This is due to the powerful and Divine experiences of those being ministered to, but also to an increased realization in the woundedness/brokenness of the members of the Body of Christ.  We are all wounded in one way or another–and that’s not to be a pessimistic downer, but to be a realist who understands why Jesus came: to save us and restore us to wholeness as only He the Divine Physician can.  The mission of JPII Healing Center is to help facilitate the healing Our Lord desires for us all.

They have a number of retreats such as Healing the Whole PersonRestoring the Glory, and Holy Desirea retreat for Priests and Seminarians.  I spent a month with them last June during their Priest and Seminarian summer program and am eternally grateful for it.  During the first week we participated in the Restoring the Glory retreat with members of the laity who were also participating in the retreat.  It focused on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and God’s plan for human sexuality, which has been so brutally attacked and distorted by our world and “culture”.

That first week was the purest experience of The Church that I’ve had in I can’t remember how long.  Men and women, priests and laity, sons and daughters of the Most High God, all coming together in their common woundedness and brokenness, their common need for a Savior and the healing only He can bring, and without judgment or condemnation of the person to their left or their right–all coming to the Divine Physician.  The joy and peace I experienced was heavenly and brought about by authentic Communion with Our Lord through the Sacraments and authentic communion with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

This past weekend was the second time I’ve experienced this purity in the Church.  I shared that with the women at the end of the retreat and explained my reasoning, similar to the above paragraph.  I also shared that I believe Our Lord allowed me to experience that last summer and to be reintroduced/reminded of it this past weekend, not so that I could go be a lifetime chaplain for the JPII Center (as beautiful as that would be 🙂 ), but so that I could bring it back to you, my kids.

While it may be difficult to get a retreat in the Asheville area in the next few years (JPII is booked 2 years out!), in the meantime their materials are available online.  I recommend it all, but Be Healed is a good place to begin.  Real Suffering is a book that Dr. Bob dedicated to his late wife, Margie, after her passing and deals with the suffering that we all experience in this life yet can have redeemed in Christ.  And Undone, the most recent release, is a book written by Dr. Bob’s daughter Carrie.  It focuses on freedom and healing of the feminine heart and is the book that last weekend’s retreat was based on.

Spend some time to check out their website and the retreats they are offering the rest of the year.  Some are a ways away, but Tallahassee isn’t a terribly far drive.  And ask Our Lord this Lent to illuminate the areas of your life where you need His healing.  We often try to either fix it ourselves, which doesn’t work, or hide it–something that also does not work.  He desires your wholeness and healing in this life and there are some beautiful tools that He’s provided through the Church, Her Sacraments, and folks like Dr. Bob and everyone at JPII Healing Center.

Time to invite Our Lord in.  I pray that you do.


Fr. Paul