Retreat Opportunities 

A retreat is a time to withdraw from ones everyday business and family worries.  It is time to reflect, and get a fresh slant on life, to pray, to awaken a sense of the reality of God, and to grow in faith.

Jesus wants to be a deep source of strength, and meaning for us.  He invites us to come to Him, and by prayer, and reflection to get in tough with what is really important.  It is a great way to "Get Your Batteries Recharged".

So answer Christ's call.  Come to Him, and spend time with God.

Men's Prayer Breakfast The Men's Prayer Breakfast meets at 6:00am in the Parish Center on Wednesday mornings of Advent and Lent.  In addition to those times the men meet on the first Wednesday of most months during the rest of the Year.

The goal of the Men's Prayer Breakfast is to provide an opportunity for each man in the parish to maintain spiritual focus in his life, especially during the conversation with other men of the parish.

The format for the 45 minutes gathering is simple:  Fellowship and conversation over coffee and donuts/bagels, individual introductions, an opening song and prayer, a Gospel reading, a short personal reflection by one of the members, small group sharing, shared petitions, and a closing prayer.

Besides the enticement of free coffee, tea, donuts and bagels, the group has great camaraderie, and is very welcoming to everyone who attends.  There is an open and standing invitation to all men of the parish to come when the Spirit moves them (along with their alarm clocks and willpower) and when their schedule allows.  There are about 50 men who attend on a regular or semi-regular basis and between 25 and 305 guys participate in any given week of Advent and Lent.  There's always room for one more.

Please come join us!  For questions and further information, please contact either Brian Salisbury (908-789-3098) or Ed Frey
Women's Prayer Breakfast The Women's Prayer Breakfast is held on the Wednesdays of Lent and Advent.  The gatherings are held in the Blue Room for the Parish Center from 9:30am until 11:00am.  The extended time allows women of all ages and circumstances to come together and share their faith experiences.

The women use a format similar to the Men's to achieve a goal of spiritual renewal through prayer and reflection. There is an opening prayer a song, a gospel reading with a short personal reflection by one of the members.  The meeting typically continues with a small group sharing, and closes with shared petitions and a closing prayer.

The meetings include light refreshments and there is always room for a newcomer to bring a friend the breakfast.

For additional information please contact Mrs. Linda Attanasio at the Parish Center, 908-232-1214, Ext. 19.

For information on any of these programs, call Philip Murphy at 908-490-0752
Cornerstone Experience
A retreat hosted by members of St. Helen's parish for parishioners of St. Helen's and others as space may allow.  The retreat is usually held in February or early March.  It begins on Friday evening and concludes with a closing liturgy on Saturday evening.  The experience is a mixture of personal talks, reflections, private time, sacraments, and group activities all leading the participants to a deeper sense of their own spirituality.  Separate weekend experiences are held for men and women.
Cornerstone Day of Renewal
This is a follow up day of renewal for those who have participated in the Cornerstone Experience.  The Day of Renewal is usually held on a Saturday in Advent or Lent for 1/2  day.  Separate Days of Renewal are scheduled for men and women.  Occasionally a day of Renewal for men and women together will be scheduled.
Cornerstone Day of Renewal A weekend designed to build on the principles of Cornerstone.  The Journey Weekend challenges the participants to continue their spiritual growth through personal talks, group sharing, prayer and sacraments.  The Journey Weekend is open to men and women who have previously participated in the Cornerstone Experience.  Separate weekends are planned for men and women.  Plans for these weekends are currently under formation.

The Youth Ministry Program provides retreats for grade levels 9-12
On all retreats candidates are given free time for private reflection, prayer, and journaling.
Freshmen Retreat
All 9th graders are required to attend a Freshmen Retreat as part of their Confirmation requirement.  This retreat takes place in the fall.  The theme of the retreat is "O' The Places You'll Go.  Our goal is to give the candidates a retreat experience in which they can explore their faith and share teenage life experiences with youth in their same age group.  Some of the talk topics are: "Taking Risk", "Self Acceptance", "Friendship & Family", "Forgiveness", "Discovering God", and "Keeping God Alive After the Retreat".

Junior and Senior Peer Ministers prepare the talks.
Sophomore Retreat
For 10th graders this retreat is optional.  The theme of the retreat is "The Wonder Years".  This retreat takes place late January-early February.  We encourage the candidates to reflect and journal during the retreat on where they are in their faith life and why they want to be confirmed.  Some of the talk topics for this retreat are:  "Gifts of the Holy Spirit", "Share the Spirit", "Parent Talk", Son/Daughter Talk", "Community of Faith".

Senior Peer Ministers and a parent(s) who present the "Parent Talk" to the candidates write the talks.
Junior/Senior Retreat This retreat is open to all 11th and 12th graders.  The retreat team is made up of adults in our parish who create a different theme and talk topics each year for the candidates.  We provide a relaxed environment for the candidates to openly discuss and share what is presently on their minds.

Parish Missions
Parish Missions are usually offered every other year here at Saint Helen's.  The mission is given by either a priest, religious or lay person and can be an individual presenter or a team.

The presenter(s) will speak at all the Masses on the weekend prior to the mission as a way to invite the entire parish to take part.  The mission may last from a couple of nights to every night of the week while the topics vary each night.

Parish Missions are different from retreats in that attendance at a mission allows people to tend to their normal work schedule and attend the mission at night.  A mission may be "in session" only a few hours each over the carouse of several evenings while a retreat is a continuous block of time extending one day or a couple of days.

Watch the bulletin and newsletter for announcements of upcoming Parish Missions.
An extended weekend retreat that is offered at least twice a year at the Archdiocesan retreat center in Kearney.  Cursillo, which means short course in Christ, originated in Spain in the 1940's and came to American in 1957.  A team of lay people and religious from all over the diocese presents the weekend.  Cursillo encourages men and women to live their lives in a Christ-like manner despite the difficult world around them.  A Candidate must be sponsored by an active Cursillistas, and their parish priest, after their weekend they are encouraged to meet regularly with fellow Cursillists in a small group (group reunion), and to attend larger community gatherings called Ultreyas.

Additional information can be obtained from Msgr. Harms at the Parish Center.
Weekend Retreat for Men:
Loyola House

Men from St. Helen's participate with the Westfield Knights of Columbus on the second weekend in February at Loyola House of retreats in nearby Morristown.

The weekend retreat starts on Friday evening with dinner, and ends on Sunday afternoon.  There scriptural meditations proposed by the Retreat Director followed by personal reflection and prayer.  The retreatants are asked to be silent.  This silent atmosphere lends itself to a growing attitude of the presence of the Lord.

Loyola Retreat House generates a prayerful environment to invite retreatants to a deeper personal union with the Lord.  Loyola is situated on 30 landscaped acres, which provide quiet, scenic surroundings; combining with Loyola's two beautiful chapels, and spiritual decor create a wonderful environment for solitude and reflection.  Eighty-five individual rooms offer privacy, and enhancement to prayer, and spending personal time with God.  The meals are adequate, wholesome, and are served family style.  A free will offering can be given on Sunday.  The Jesuit priests, and two nuns staff Loyola.  They are available for personal consultation.

If you have never been on a weekend retreat, or maybe it has been a long time since you attended one, make up your mind now to go on Loyola House retreat, and spend some quality time with the Lord.

For further information, call Jerry Farley at 908-654-5554, or David D'Agostino at 908-789-8911, or online at  Loyola is located at 161 James Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
An Away Retreat for Women
In 1998 as a response to the request for a next step for women following Cornerstone, St. Helen's sponsored a weekend away retreat.  The retreat entitled, "Come To The Quiet", has continued to be offered annually in November at the St. Joseph by the Sea Retreat Center in Mantoloking, New Jersey.  Occasionally, based on response, it is held bi-annually.

Offered in a quiet setting on the ocean, the theme of the weekend occasionally changes, however the structure of the weekend remains the same.  Time is provided for quiet reflection, following talks by facilitators; optional sharing groups; prayer services; mass; song; and walking on the beach.  Information regarding dates of retreats will be printed in the bulletin or you may contact Paulette Cicero through St. Helen's for further information.
Day/Evenings Of Reflection
For Liturgical Ministries

Each year, or every other year, a day or evening of reflection is offered for all our Liturgical Ministers.  These include our Presiders, Readers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Choir Members, Cantors, Greeters, and Ministers of Hospitality.

A speaker (priest, religious, or lay person) will nourish those who nourish us at our Liturgies.
Senior's Day
of Renewal

Each Lent the Senior members of our Parish Community are given the opportunity to attend a Day of Renewal that has been planed especially for them.  The day, which is presented by a visiting priest, begins with morning liturgy.  The rest of the day consists of a series of talks that re designed to address "senior spirituality", table discussion, and an activity such as the recitation of the rosary.  A chapel is set up in the green room for quiet time and/or personal prayer.  The day concludes with a lunch.  The Day of Renewal is open to all seniors.  Application forms can be found in the church bulletin at least 6 weeks prior to the day.  There is a minimal charge.
Spiritual Life Retreats
As part of the mission of The Spiritual Life Committee, it responds to the needs and/or requests for retreats at St. Helen's.  In 2003, two new retreats were offered during Lent, a morning retreat that included a speaker and lunch for Senior Citizens, and a six-week Spiritual Direction Prayer Retreat that was open to all parishioners.

Retreat offerings may change annually.  Upcoming retreats will be printed the bulletin.

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