Thriving in Rural Ministry Retreat Registration

Thriving in Rural Ministry is a retreat experience and follow-up for priests who serve in a rural setting. It is crafted to provide spiritual refreshment, rural ministry insights and support, individual leadership development, and fraternity with other priests serving rural communities.

The program is specifically designed to renew rural pastors and help revitalize their communities. It will create fraternal time and community space among Catholic priests, fostering a renewed vision of the vocation of rural ministry.

One of the trends we see in rural areas across the country is the increasing challenge for pastors covering multiple parishes over long distances. This trend has led to more pastors feeling more isolated and emotionally stretched. Pastors in rural communities, even those serving only one parish, have told us of their sense of isolation and their need of peer fellowship and fraternity to help them both overcome some of the unique challenges in pastoral ministry and to expand upon the many opportunities found in ministering in a rural setting.

CRL is creating a network of relationships with pastors serving rural communities who can encourage, sharpen and help one another.

Each retreat will include:
– Individual and communal prayer
– Best practices shared among other priests serving in rural ministry
– Presentations and workshops on known rural challenges and key priestly responsibilities
– Pre-retreat self-assessment tool
– Individual leadership development
– Fraternity with other priests serving rural communities
– Celebration of the sacraments

Retreats are three full days and are hosted in a relaxing, retreat environment with 18-24 priests who either serve in a rural parish, or anticipate doing so. Participants will be of various tenures and ages and will represent dioceses across the country.

After the retreat experience, each cohort will be invited to meet quarterly (via video conference) to discuss specific issues particular to rural ministry. These virtual meetings will continue for one year following the retreat.

Upcoming retreat dates include:
– November 11-15, 2019: Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN (FULL)
– February 17-21, 2020: Tucson, Arizona
– July 13-17, 2020: Location tbd

The cost of these first several retreats has been highly subsidized by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment and other benefactors committed to rural Catholic culture. We ask for $280 to defray additional retreat expenses. Covered expenses include pre-retreat assessment tools, lodging, meals, materials, and participation in post-retreat virtual cohort meetings. Transportation to the airport nearest the venue is the responsibility of each priest (or his parish or diocese). CRL will arrange for transportation between the airport and the retreat center.