A Lenten retreat hosted by the Secular Franciscans attracted 140 people from a variety of Christian churches in the area. Here, Fr. Jerry Hagen, one of four guest speakers, buys the last raffle tickets. (Submitted photo)

On Feb. 10, the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, the Our Lady Queen of the Universe Secular Franciscans opened the doors of Holy Family, Woodruff, to host a mini Lenten retreat open to everyone interested in preparing for their upcoming Lenten journey.

The Franciscans welcomed 140 individuals who came to listen to four inspirational presentations. Fr. Aaron Devett’s topic was “Holding It Together in a Falling Apart World”; Fr. Maria Joseph Kodiganti spoke to the three pillars of Lent in his talk, “Let Us Die to Ourselves and Rise to a New Life with Jesus”; Fr. Robert Thorn addressed “Repentance and Renewal”; and Fr. Jerry Hagen spoke on the “Call to Conversion.”

Participants were greeted and provided with the new black Lenten book, a Lenten candle and a rosary of their choice.

Reconciliation was provided by the four priests, which resulted from past attendees’ suggestion to offer the sacrament as part of the retreat.

A free lunch was provided. The ecumenical event drew attendees from around the region, including Holy Family; St. Anthony of Padua, Lac du Flambeau; Nativity of Our Lord, Rhinelander; St. Anne’s, Wausau; Faith Free Lutheran and Holy Name of Jesus, Wausau; St. Mary of the Snows, Eagle River; St. Rita’s, Presque Isle; St. Francis, Merrill; and The Rock, Eagle River.