Faith formation is for everyone

By Connie Berry
Sun editor

Children growing up in the church have plenty of opportunities to learn more about the Catholic faith. So do those who are joining the church for the first time. Those who use their talents in music ministry, as Eucharistic ministers and as lectors usually have a chance to gather at least once a year and reflect on their ministry. What about the rest of the people in the pews?

Father Mark Kaminski, director of Christ the King Retreat Center in Syracuse, hopes that pastors will soon take advantage of all the retreat house has to offer. With all the busyness that comes with pastoring at least one parish, most of them have little time left to focus on the possibility of teaching or leading another class or sessions of classes. That’s where a good center for retreats, classes and groups comes into the picture.

At Christ the King this fall, a First Friday of Prayer open to everyone will focus on a directed holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament and will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include lunch. Other offerings like a day of contemplation, pathways to prayer  and retreats specific to Eucharistic ministers, Legion of Mary members, RCIA ministers and lectors will be on the calendar.

“After New Year’s we want to offer a book club and maybe a movie club with relevant discussion afterward,” Father Kaminski said. “Maybe if some people get together they’ll decide they want to form a group or do something in their own parish. Maybe they will go on to organize and lead a group within their parish. This was the original vision for the retreat house when Bishop O’Keefe bought it in 1994. I will be asking pastors, ‘How can I be of assistance to lighten your load at the parish?’ It can be difficult to bring 10 or 15 people together at one parish and get a good speaker. But, if we can get maybe 50 or 60 together and have a speaker that would work.”

There are other places around the diocese that offer programs for adults seeking to better develop their faith or prayer life. Stella Maris Retreat Center in Skaneateles provides a beautiful setting for reflection and many opportunities for adult faith formation. The Good News Center in Utica and the Spiritual Renewal Center in Syracuse are two more places where the spirit of renewal and faith grows. The Spiritual Center in Windsor, N.Y. serves as a place for opportunity to reflect and rejuvenate in the Southern Tier.

The desire to learn more about one’s faith is a lifelong process, Father Kaminski said, not one that ends after the early sacraments. He would urge everyone to test the waters and see what’s available at the local level. Contacting one of the centers within the diocese is a good start.


Christ the King Retreat and
Conference Center

500 Brookford Rd.,
Syracuse, N.Y. 13224
(315) 446-2680

Stella Maris Retreat and
Conference Center

130 E. Genesee St.,
Skaneateles, N.Y. 13152
(315) 685-6836

Spiritual Renewal Center
1118 Court St., Suite B
Syracuse, N.Y. 13208
(315) 472-6546

Spiritual Center
712 State Route 79
Windsor, N.Y. 13865
(607) 655-2264

Good News Foundation
10475 Cosby Manor Rd.
Utica, N.Y. 13502
(315) 735-6210

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