Memphis Region Sponsors Friar Fest, A Retreat For Teenagers
Established in 2008, the Memphis region of the Order has 11 lay members and five candidates. In addition, Bishop Terry Steib serves as the conventual chaplain and Fr. John Hourican serves as the associate chaplain. One of its projects is Friar Fest, an annual retreat that attracts nearly 200 teenagers from the Memphis diocese. For Father Anthony Batezold, the personal approach is the only way to share the love of Christ. He and other members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal conducted the retreat in Memphis April 5-7 which was free to the teens.
Memphis region members sponsored the retreat for a second year to nurture the faith of a diverse group of young Catholics. Robert Hutton, a member of the Order in Memphis explained, “Our hope was to bring kids of diverse backgrounds in the diocese together for an intense weekend that would bring them closer to Christ in this Eucharist-centered retreat.” The Order provided transportation and a stipend to the friars, as well as T-shirts and meals for the teens. Several members of the Order worked the retreat weekend and provided housing for the friars in their homes.
In addition to Friar Fest, members of the Order of Malta live out their mission in Memphis in many ways, including supporting the Catholic Café Radio show at 10 a.m. Sundays on KWAM 990 AM. They also provide support for the Angel program for autistic children at Holy Rosary Catholic School, take the sick to Lourdes, France each year, and work with the Missionaries of Charity each month.