„No one is an island.” It is a natural human desire and aspiration that one’s relationships within the family, at the workplace, among friends, in the Church community etc. should constantly improve, deepen, become more and more enriching.
The aim of the FIRES Self Encounter programme is to provide an opportunity for participants – individuals of any age over 20, either single, married, divorced or widowed – to review and renew their relationships with themselves, with other people and with God.
Topics include: self knowledge, human relationships, vocation, openness, faith, relationship with God.
Self Encounter participants are invited to listen to talks by team persons, who honestly share their lived experiences. Presentations are followed by periods of quiet reflection and sharing about handout questions. The two-day programme also includes Holy Mass and prayers led by a Catholic priest.
The programme brings about deep changes in the hearts of most participants: it helps them deepen their self knowledge, encourages them to be honest in communication and sharing, helps them see the worth of positive thinking and living, makes them feel how much one needs God in his life.
Started and conducted within the Catholic Church, FIRES Self Encounter is open to non-Catholics or non-Christians as well. It is an unforgettable community experience for both believers and non-believers.
from individuals who have attended the Self Encounter in Hungary:
„This weekend has been a very special one. I cannot compare it with anything I have ever experienced in my life. The week after began differently than any other week. It is difficult to put it in words but something has changed. Something has changed in me. I felt as if I had put on more colourful, happier spectacles in the morning, which I have been wearing ever since the Self Encounter programme, and which I hope to wear for a long time.
We had wonderful experiences in my group. We opened up to one another. There were moments full of emotion that made an impact on us which we cannot and do not want to shake off. Therefore we decided to keep in contact and regularly meet. In the meantime we will support each other’s spiritual development with the help of the opportunities offered by modern technique.
I do not know yet what I really want, but I have found my Bible (though it was at the very bottom of a cupboard) and I have started reading the New Testament. Slowly but safely, I will read it from beginning to end. I will try Sunday Mass, too.”
„I found the Self Encounter programme very useful. The small group sharings were really good and it was interesting to reflect on the questions. They helped me know myself better. I re-thought many things and I made several commitments, that is, what I would do differently in the future. It is a shame that there were just short breaks during the weekend, so we did not really have the opportunity to take a walk in the fresh air… Yes, there has been a change in my life, kind of new wonder at God’s goodness and mercy.”
„The Self Encounter was a fantastic experience. It has meant an awful lot for me personally. It cleared up many things and showed me the right direction… Those kind people there, they each gave me something. By the way, we have been in contact ever since with the five people in my small group. Wonderful people. We have spent an evening together at a tea-house. Each one told the others how he/she was getting along in his/her life.”
„The Encounter programme was a good and uplifting experience for me. Sometimes I found it also difficult because many memories came up, some I had never faced and some rather painful, which made me think over again what had happened. What meant a lot to me was the honesty of the team. Their sharings were based on what they had gone through or experienced in their lives, so I found great relief in listening to them and realizing I am not alone in struggling with problems, thoughts and doubts.”