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2018 Calendar

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Contemplative Outreach of Central Pa. presents:
11th Step retreat
June 22-24, 2018

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran, Carolyn Yankovitz & Michael Gidlewski

This retreat is for people in 12 Step Recovery programs to introduce or expand and deepen the experience of Contemplative Prayer as part of a daily 12-Step Practice.

Centering Prayer is a simple method of prayer rooted in ancient Christian practice that opens us to God's presence and divine healing. It is simply moving deep within ourselves, in silence, saying nothing, asking for nothing, just being and allowing our Higher Power to be with us.

The retreat will offer an environment of solitude and silence in community with time for reflection, fellowship, and a 12-Step Meeting. For those new to Contemplative Prayer, the retreat is an Introductory Workshop on Contemplative Prayer in the context of 12-Step recovery.

Retreat staff have been active in 12-Step programs for many years. They have completed the Formation for Contemplative Service process of Contemplative Outreach as well as the Formation Training for Presenting and Leading Retreats for Contemplative Prayer and the 12-Steps. Brochures available.


Offering: $190 per person
Deposit: $75 due by June 1, non-refundable
Save $15 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

8 Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat
God is Love ~ The Heart of All Creation
August 5-12, 2018 (Sun. to Sun) FULL - Waiting List Only

Facilitators: Sr. Rita Panciera, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, & Fr. Philip Billotte

Bethany Retreat Center is providing an in-depth retreat for those with experience with Centering Prayer who wish to enter into a more profound level of spiritual practice. God is Love: The Heart of All Creation continues and builds on the works of Thomas Keating over the past 30+ years, beginning with the Spiritual Journey Series. It offers a vision of hope and a view of reality that at once integrates the sciences, religion, and humankind's place in the cosmos as divine in origin, unifying in purpose, unfolding in it grandeur.


Contemplative Outreach, under whose auspices these retreats are given, require that those who participate in the Intensive Retreat be regular practitioners of Centering Prayer.

Limited Scholarships Available

Arrival: 5pm & Supper at 6pm
Departure: 11am, Sunday
$475 for Private Room
$525 for Private Room w/Bath  SOLD OUT
Deposit: $150
Save $25 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

8-Day POST Intensive ContempLative Prayer Retreat
August 5-12, 2018 (Sun. to Sun) FULL - Waiting List Only

Facilitators: Sr. Rita Panciera, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera & Fr. Philip Billotte

The purpose of the retreat is to assist the participants in entering into a more intimate silence in a nurturing, supportive environment that combines both solitude and community. The Post Intensive is a next step into a profound silence and stillness in order to facilitate a more intimate union with God.

Requirements for Making the Post-Intensive Retreat

  1. Be regular practitioners of Centering Prayer
  2. Have made a 5 day or longer Intensive Retreat prior to making the Post-Intensive Retreat
(Massage Therapist available - not included in the cost.)
Arrival: 5pm & Supper at 6pm
Departure: 11am, Sunday
for Private Room
$525 for Private Room w/Bath  SOLD OUT
Deposit: $150
Limited Scholarships Available
Save $25 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

Icon Writing Workshop - Bethany Retreat CenterIcon Writing Workshop
November 4-10, 2018 (Sunday - Saturday)

Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante

Come to Bethany Retreat Center for a special opportunity to learn about and create an icon based upon this 13th century image of Archangel Gabriel. We will discuss this messenger of God and consider what he has to say to us as we anticipate the upcoming Advent season. Mary Kay Laplante will lead the class in creating the icon of Archangel Gabriel using ancient techniques and all-natural materials rich with symbolic meaning.

Previous artistic experience is not a pre-requisite, as writing an icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline. Students will receive step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials will be provided. The underlying theology of each step will be emphasized.

The days will include class instruction and painting, personal prayer time, optional Centering Prayer, daily Mass and home-cooked meals provided by the Bethany staff. Please let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary needs. Materials to be provided include: a prepared icon board, set of brushes, palette, 23K gold leaf, pigments, and all other necessary materials to complete the icon.

For more information contact: Mary Kay Laplante at


"I found the experience of learning to write an icon with Mary Kay Laplante to be a rich and rewarding experience, spiritually and artistically. I was struck by the way Mary Kay was able to meet each student where they were in their own artistic knowledge. This is spiritually meaningful work for her, and she was able to demonstrate that importance through the seriousness and intensity with which she conveyed what she knows. But that seriousness was coupled with her evident delight too--particularly in the painting act itself. Mary Kay loves to paint icons and her delight and commitment to this art is an inspiration to those who have the opportunity to study with her."
      Barbara Campbell Thomas, 2017 Icon Workshop participant

"I came to the Bethany Retreat Center and the Icon Writing Workshop knowing not a thing about either. Mary Kay's passion and knowledge, not just for the art but for the faith lived out through art, continues to inspire me. As I gaze at my icon each morning, as I start my day and I pray my moring prayers, I know that I have grown deeper in faith because of the time I spent at Bethany Retreat Center. It was a privilege to have been taught by her and to have been touched by her grace."
      Reverend Christina Perkins, 2015 and 2017 Icon Workshop participant

Partial scholarships available based upon need

Arrival: Sunday after 4pm & Supper 5pm
Departure: Saturday around
Tuition & Fees:
$550 for class instruction & ALL icon materials
$375 for lodging (private rooms) and meals
Deposit: $250 (non-refundable)

Sr. Rita Panciera, RSMContemplative Outreach of Central Pa Presents:
Welcoming Prayer Retreat
2019 Dates to be Announced

Presenter: Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God's presence and action in the events and situations in daily life. It provides a method of being aware of our physical and emotional reactions and a method of dealing with them prayerfully in the midst of daily life.

The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored - in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Contemplative Prayer.

The time together will be both retreat and workshop, with opportunity for silence and Centering Prayer in community. Also, participants will be introduced to the actual method of the Welcoming Prayer and provided with opportunities to practice. Discussions will include the human condition and the false-self system as the conceptual background of the Welcoming Prayer practice. There will be time for focusing, working with what is happening in our bodies and practicing the prayer.

Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM is a Sister of Mercy and Director of the House of Prayer in Erie, PA. She has been an experienced practitioner of Centering Prayer for many years and has facilitated many Centering Prayer retreats and programs, both at Bethany Retreat Center and elsewhere.
Brochures available.

Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service
Including Presenter's Training
2019 Dates to be Announced

Facilitators: Therese Saulnier & Sr. Ruth Ann Madera

What is Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service?

The purpose of Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service, including Presenter’s Training, is to provide an intensive Christian community experience in order to better understand and grasp the essentials of the Centering Prayer method and thus be able to share it appropriately with others.

The theory is “Good practitioners make good presenters, facilitators, and administrative helpers.” Because the group spends four days focusing on the Centering Prayer practice itself, they better understand the essentials of Centering Prayer and the many nuances of the practice. This deeper understanding helps them to better recognize that contemplative service is service freely offered without expectation of return.

Contemplative Service is not tied to roles or only those willing to function in a specific way. Rather one sees a need and fills it. Contemplative Service is God in us serving God in others.

The schedule includes:

  • One and a half hours of Centering Prayer daily
  • Presentations by the staff of one conference of Session one of An Introduction to Centering Prayer each morning.
  • Participants present portions of the same material to a small group in the afternoons.
  • Discussion of Issue

Criteria for Register for: Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

  • Participated in “An Introduction to Centering Prayer”
  • Established Centering Prayer practice - minimum of daily two twenty-minute periods ~ for three years.
  • Participated in an 8- or 10-day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat, either before attending Formation or within one year after attending Formation, and before becoming fully commissioned. If intensive retreats are not geographically available (or) Participated in a 5 or 7 day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat (or) Participated in four weekend silent Centering Prayer Retreats over previous 3 years
  • Studied Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating. Preferably has also read/studied Invitation to Love, Mystery of Christ, and/or Spiritual Journey materials by Thomas Keating (Tapes, CDs, DVDs or transcripts).
  • Has been recommended by a Chapter Coordinator or Contact Person, or (in an underdeveloped chapter) by a commissioned presenter who is willing to mentor and recommend him/her for full commissioning after serving a minimum of one year as a presenter-in-training.

4-Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat
Fall date to be announced

This retreat gives Centering Prayer practitioners an opportunity to deepen their practice and relationship with God by joining with other in a silence community the experience of immersion in Contemplative Prayer apart from ordinary life. This retreat will include several periods of prayer, and daily Mass. There will only be one video conference and the rest of the retreat will be in deep silence and solitude.

Requirements: Established daily practice of Centering Prayer.

Drumming & Native American Spirituality
A Unique Drumming Experience!
2019 Date to Be Announced

Presenter: Tom Campbell

Join us for our fifth drumming retreat! This year we will delve again into another aspect of Native American Spirituality and its deep connection to the Great Spirit ~ God. The day will include group drumming, ritual, prayer, storytelling, food, and an experience of Native American culture.

No experience necessary ~ drums will be provided or bring your own.

Tom Campbell has led the last four drumming retreats at Bethany; close to 50 people attended last year! He has been leading retreats for over 30 years, and has been drumming 29 years; leading workshops and retreats with men, women, couples, and mixed groups.

Tom has studied Native American spirituality for 28 years. Its creator-centered approach to life with a reverence toward the Earth and all creatures on it, resonates with his Catholic upbringing.

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