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Weekend Plus Silent Retreats

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633 Ridgebury Road

Slate Hill, NY 10973

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The Church's Continual Account of Man's Life

“In the beginning”, we read in the Bible, of “darkness” and “the abyss” preceding the creation of the world, and then we hear the command, “Let there be light”. Before God formed man out of the dust of the earth all was good until man chose what was forbidden, "knowledge of good and evil". Darkness, once more entered the world. Shakespeare acknowledged, “there be nothing new, but that which is . . . Hath been before . . . even of five hundred courses of the sun . . .”, ( Sonnet 59 ). And Hemingway chose to write the novel, “The Sun Also Rises.” And so man rises and falls, rises and sets for another day.

David, the first king of Israel wrote, “Darkness is not dark for you [God] and night shines as the day”. . . . Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my thoughts. See if there is a wicked path in me; lead me along an ancient path”, (Psalm 139:13, 23-24).

The “ancient path”, David spoke of, is the oldest tradition in the Church, her Office of the Hours which includes the Psalms of David, Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Fathers and the Saints of the Church. The tradition began with King David and his Psalms c.1,000 BC. John In the his Gospel wrote, “the Word [Jesus] was God . . . . He was in the beginning with God” and “What came to be through him was life . . . the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”, (John 1:1,3-5).

I, for one, am grateful that the Church obliges me and all her ordained priests to read, study and pray the Office five times every day. Those who would make this retreat will learn and practice the Office of the Hours at Morning, Daytime, Evening, Night time and the Office of Readings anytime during the day. Reading and praying the “official prayer” of the Church requires some instruction which we will daily provide, practice and discuss together.

The Office is organized in four volumes following the five seasons of the year: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time. Every person will have a copy of the Office while on retreat. Practicing the hours of the Office in our daily lives will, I can attest, enrich all who come to “the way and the truth and the life” of Christ.

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The retreat house, originally built c.1709, was enlarged over many generations preserving within its walls pre-Revolutionary, Federal, neo-Classical and Victorian architectual elements. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the house was recently featured in the New York Times column, "Great Homes and Designations".

FAQs

How long are the retreats?

Two, three or four days beginning Friday morning or evening through Sunday, Monday or Tuesday afternoon. We will confirm your choice of retreat days by telephone after your registration form is completed.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email:FatherTomSays@gmail or call (815) 793-7465 (Be sure to leave a message for a return call).

What is the retreat schedule?

Our retreats begin with Morning Mass. Our group activities include the readings of the Office with our discussions of the Church's ancient tradition in the Office of the Hours three times daily, morning, mid-day and mid-afternoon. At other times we maintain silence during the day except for ordinary conversation during meals. For those interested we will have daily classes on gardening, nutrition and making sourdough bread. Much of my garden provides the food for our meals. At other times during the day you may do as you please, take a hike or walk our wooded farmlands, read or whatever else suits you.

My phone number (815) 793-7465 does not accept "unknown callers". You would have to email me at FatherTomSays@gmail.com with your phone number so I may include you in my contact list. Cell phones are not permitted in the retreat house and may be left in your car or with the retreat director which will be returned to you at the end of the retreat. The retreat house may be called with any emergency.

What will the retreat cost me?

Nothing or a good-will donation as you choose. "Freely you received and freely you should offer", as Jesus instructed his Apostles ( Matthew 10:8 ). Your retreat will include a private guest bedroom, meals and other amenities associated with a hotel stay ( without, of course, room service--its a retreat, after all ).

Other questions or requests

Email or call. You may have to leave a voicemail which I will return.

Final Note

Registration is required no later than three full days before a scheduled retreat begins ( open link top left side of page ). Register early. There may not be any tickets available later. Our retreats are purposefully small for five to seven individuals or married couples. Again, register early. If later you cannot attend simply email me at FatherTomSays@gmail.com as soon as possible. But please email me should you cancel. Others may be on a wait list.

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Location

633 Ridgebury Road

Slate Hill, NY 10973

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