Encounter the living God in Cor ad Cor
In 2018, Gail Wingert was invited by Susan Safford, then-director of Pastoral Ministries, to participate in a new initiative of the Veritatis Splendor Institute. The title, Cor ad Cor, is a shortened version of “Cor ad Cor Loquitur,” a Latin phrase meaning “Heart speaks to Heart.”
Focused on deepening one’s relationship with the Lord, the program begins with the Oremus video series and moves into the Spiritual Exercises developed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century. The retreat begins in October, has 90-minute weekly sessions, and participants are asked to commit to 20 minutes of prayer daily. Wingert recalls there were five women who were part of the original group that journeyed together over 30 weeks in the new program. Following her initial retreat she was invited to become a leader for a new group of women.
“After being on the retreat, I was asked to discern if the Lord was calling me to lead other women into a deeper spiritual life. He was, and so far, I have worked with four groups — two at the Cathedral, one in Hermosa, and one in Sturgis,” said Wingert. “The group in Sturgis included women from Belle Fourche, Deadwood, Spearfish, Newell, and Sturgis. Now God has called some of these women to begin new Cor ad Cor groups in their own communities! It’s exciting to see how God is working. This year, Susan Wagner and I will be leading a group in Hill City.”
The retreat begins with 8 video presentations by Fr. Mark Toupes, a priest from the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Wingert said, “He is a gifted priest who was able to guide me into a deeper understanding of how God is inviting me into a more intimate relationship with him. Essential to this program is a consistent, daily prayer using the assigned scriptures and the journaling questions. Daily, I continue to use what I learned during those initial eight weeks.”
The Spiritual Exercises provided her guidance and structure to meet God on a deeper level. “God invited me, and he was doing all the work, but I had to respond to that invitation and be receptive to his gifts,” she said. “I had to be committed to daily prayer and to honestly sharing with those in my group. Sometimes the retreat is challenging, but God meets me in those difficult moments. Cor ad Cor changed my life. It continues to change my life. God persists in lovingly and mercifully working in my life through the exercises, and I am humbled and grateful to guide others to intimate relationships with God through these diocesan small groups.”
Wingert recommends the retreat program because people can work through it during their regular day-to-day life. “Sharing your prayer with others in the small groups is essential as you learn how God speaks and works. You are not alone as you do the spiritual work needed to grow. The leaders will encourage and challenge you. Those in your small group will support and inspire you. These exercises have been used since the 1500s. The meditations and prayers have been changing peoples’ lives for 500 years!” she said.
Tyler Weaver was a student in the Cor ad Cor retreat via zoom with Jacques Daniel, assistant director of Faith Formation. When Weaver was first invited to join, he declined, but Daniel was persistent in his invitations.
“My wife was also interested in Cor ad Cor, as well as two other couples we know within Cathedral parish,” he said. “At that time of my life when I started Cor ad Cor, I was developing a very intellectual and rational relationship toward Christ, but I felt a calling from the Lord that there was another way to pursue the love he has for me. Christ is the perfect balance of truth in love, and we can find the truth of Christ via study and his love via prayer.”
Weaver said before the retreat his prayer life consisted mainly of saying grace before meals and evening prayers. He learned to bring Christ to all aspects of his life. “God’s will is the will that I need to strive to follow. I do come up short sometimes; however, Cor ad Cor gave me the tools to more clearly discern between God’s will, the evil one’s will, and my own.”
To register, go to https://www.rapidcitydiocese.org/coradcor/.