What is expected from my parish if we want an ACTS retreat?

The pastor’s support is essential. His cooperation is important during the recruitment phase. He is usually the best recruiter for the first retreat. He can also facilitate connecting the retreat team with other parish organizations for assistance in organizing different facets of the retreat if needed. Bulletin announcements, pulpit presentations, parish information sessions, face to face conversations, and such other recruiting methods are generally utilized in the recruiting process

If possible, the parish should make available a meeting space for use by the retreat team to plan the retreat. The team usually meets weekly in the evening for three months prior to the retreat date.

On the Thursday night of the retreat weekend, parish space is needed for registering and welcoming the retreatants. A short send-off service is then conducted in the church.

During a regularly scheduled Mass on the Sunday of the retreat weekend, an area in the church should be reserved for the returning retreatants and team members. It is requested that they be allowed to process in as a group and sit together to demonstrate the community that they formed during the retreat. After this Mass, the parish is requested to provide a small reception for at least the retreatants, the ACTS team, and their families and friends. The size of the reception is entirely up to the parish.

The cost of a retreat facility (room and meals) is covered by the registration fee paid by each retreatant and team member, however, there are additional expenses for literature, materials, postage and other ancillary items. Each ACTS team member normally makes donations of materials and money to help defray these expenses but the sponsoring parish should consider underwriting a portion of these expenses and/or the retreatant’s registration fee. It has been experienced that after the ACTS parish ministry has been formed, the ACTS program becomes self-funded through the generosity of ACTS retreatants.

As you see, the cost is very reasonable; however, there are those who may not be able to afford the weekend. In order to make the retreat available to all those who desire to go, the parish should also consider providing scholarships for needy retreatants.