A Powerful Night on Forgiveness

Thanks to all who made our March 21st  Monday Evening Mini-Retreat a success. It

was on the Spiritual Work of Mercy “Forgiving Injuries” . It was a powerful message. Here are the lyrics to a song used as part of the presentation.

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

That were made long ago

I have some cracks in me

They have been filled with gold.  (continues underneath)

That’s what they used back then

When they had a bowl to mend

It did not hide the cracks

It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows

from every time I broke

And anyone’s eyes can see

I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind

All of these jagged lines

Make me more beautiful

And worth a higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

I was made long ago

I have some cracks you can see

See how they shine of gold.

-Peter Mayer

“Spiritual Works of Mercy, Admonishing the Sinner” Monday Nite Mini Retreat

Mon. Feb.29 6pm      We continue our series of mini-retreats reflecting on the traditional seven “Spiritual Works of Mercy.” “Admonishing the Sinner” is this month’s spiritual work of mercy. WerevBishop are both saint and sinner as we journey through life. As a consequence we need challenge, encouragement, and compassion in order to feel and to be a peace with the Lord. Presenter: Most Rev. John Barres, Bishop of Allentown, Pa. Donation: $25.00
Monday Mini Retreat Programs begin with a meal in our dining room at 6:00 p.m. Following the meal, we meet in our main conference room for prayer and a presentation. There is time for discussion before the closing prayer at 9:00 p.m. Registration begins in the lobby at 5:15 p.m.   Register

Bishop John O. Barres was born on September 20, 1960 and is a native of Larchmont, New York. His parents, Oliver (a native of Bethlehem, PA) and Marjorie Barres, are convert Protestant ministers who met each other at the Yale Divinity School and entered the Catholic Church in 1955. The story of their conversion is told in Oliver Barres’ book One Shepherd, One Flock, which was published by Sheed and Ward in 1955 and again in 2000 by Catholic Answers (with forewords by Avery Cardinal Dulles and Fr. Benedict Groeschel). Bishop elect Barres is the fifth of six children and has seven nephews and four nieces.

Bishop Barres is a graduate of Phillips Academy (Andover), Princeton University (BA in English Literature), and the New York University Graduate School of Businessnew bishop Administration (MBA in Management). His theological education includes an STB and an STL in Systematic Theology from the Catholic University of America (where he received seminary formation at Theological College) and a JCL in Canon Law and an STD in Spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. His 1999 doctoral dissertation is entitled Jean-Jacques Olier’s Priestly Spirituality: Mental Prayer and Virtue as the Foundation for the Direction of Souls.

Bishop Barres was baptized by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1960 while his father was working for the Bishop at the Propagation of the Faith in New York City. He was ordained to the priesthood October 21, 1989 by Bishop Robert Mulvee (Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Providence). He served as an associate pastor at Holy Family Church in BishopBarresNewark, DE (1989-1992) at St. Elizabeth’s parish in Wilmington, DE (1992-1996). After further study in Rome (1996-1999) with residence at the Pontifical North American College (Casa Santa Maria), he served as Vice-Chancellor (1999-2000) and then Chancellor (2000-present) for Bishop Michael Saltarelli and then Bishop W. Frances Malooly.

Pope John Paul II name him a Chaplain to His Holiness in July 2000 with the title of “Monsignor.” Pope Benedict XVI named him a Prelate of Honor In November 2005. In addition to serving on various diocesan boards and committees, Bishop Barres has served on the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference (Annapolis, MD), the board of St. Francis Hospital (Wilmington, DE), and the Board of the Cathedral Foundation (Baltimore, MD). http://www.cathedral-church.org/bishop.html

Upcoming Events

Pope Francis shows us by his leadership style that listening and speaking with respect and mercy is the way to effective inter-personal relationships. Learning to listen and speak with one another with compassion and with understanding is an art we continue to learn through discernment and practice. Our retreat team will lead us in discussions that may help us in our family relationships to forge more effective and enjoyable bonds of communication that will produce the closeness we for which we long in our daily living. Communication is a key to communion.
Our Monday night mini-retreats are three-hour sessions that include a full meal (6:00 p.m.), presentation, prayer, and discussion (7:00 p.m.) and night prayer and blessing (9:00 p.m.)
The donation for these mini-retreats is $25.00 per person.
Please register for these mini-retreats at least one week before the event so that we can arrange the needed space, produce the necessary hand-outs, and prepare the special meals for all who come. All are welcome!


boscovs finalContact Anne Houston, St.Francis Retreat House Marketing;annsfrh@rcn.com610-258-3053 ext. 24

Regular Programs

Mon. 28th “Celebrating Differences” Mini-Retreat

Still time to register for our Mini-Retreat!
2 September 28 2015 mini retreat

As Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia for the world-wide celebration of family life, we take this opportunity to join with him in reflecting on the beauty of differences in our families. Difference is a gift of God to humanity in order that we might arrive at completion and fulfillment. Differences are the active ingredients of beauty and truth; what we have in common is our gift of difference, and these differences need not divide us. Our differences can deepen our capacity to love. Only when people get beyond themselves, grow out of themselves, will they discover God, learn to appreciate their own uniqueness, and find strength to authentically relate to other persons and to the whole of God’s creation.

Our Monday night mini-retreats are three-hour sessions that include a full meal (6:00 p.m.), presentation, prayer, and discussion (7:00 p.m.) and night prayer and blessing (9:00 p.m.)
The donation for these mini-retreats is $25.00 per person.
Please register for these mini-retreats before the event so that we can arrange the needed space, produce the necessary hand-outs, and prepare the special meals for all who come. All are welcome! Call : 610-258-3053 ext.0, or online go to:  Registration

Lehigh Valley Marketplace Magazine article

A Place of Peace: St. Francis Retreat House

By Cathy Kiley

We live in a demanding world of busy people. There is barely enough time to work and care for our families and we simply do not take enough time to care for ourselves. To enjoy a rejuvenating walk on a beautiful day feels as if it is a privilege instead of a necessity and to think about taking even an hour out of our day to rekindle our spirits seems to be an impossibility.

St. Francis Retreat House is a peaceful haven nestled at the north end of Chipman Road between Easton and Bethlehem (bordering Routes 22 and 33.) The Franciscan Friars have welcomed over 200,000 men, women and youth across their threshold since The Friary’s inception over 50 years ago, yet it continues to be one of the best kept secrets in the Lehigh Valley. Their history is rich, beginning in 1929 when Slovakian Franciscan Friars arrived in America to minister to Slovak speaking people in Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, following World War II, the church in Eastern Europe was forced underground by the Iron Curtain and countries were in ruins. As the diverse immigrant population grew in the United States, this handful of Friars answered the call of St. Francis to reach out in faith to bring hope to those in despair no matter what their ancestral or spiritual background. It is in this spirit of St. Francis that the Friars, volunteers, staff and benefactors continue his legacy today. St. Francis Retreat House opened its doors in Easton in 1961. Situated on 22 secluded wooded acres, it is easy to get lost in your thoughts here. A sense of calm greets you as soon as you enter the grounds. The chapel is, of course, the center of the property where Mass is held daily at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM on Sundays. The garden quadrangle across from the chapel is beautiful, showcasing a statue of St. Francis of Assisi surrounded by animal statuettes and bronze, mosaic and brick Stations of the Cross interspersed in beds of wildflowers and groves of white pines and forsythias. A prayerful walk through this courtyard is relaxing on a warm sunny day and a perfect place to sit, reflect or perhaps read a book. The nearby meditation garden and the pavilion on the east side of the property showcasing the Pieta are outdoor gathering places, not only for retreatants, but for individual visitors as well. There are 72 rooms at St. Francis Retreat House with accommodations to suit everyone. Dining facilities featuring delicious homemade cuisine are available to serve a group. The warm, welcoming retreat house is air conditioned and handicap accessible. The definition of “retreat” is a place of retirement, quiet or security; a refuge; or a change of direction. It implies an invitation to give over the rigors of daily life to meet, share and deepen the understanding of one’s life and the awareness of the presence of God in it. The Friars have a superb schedule of organized retreats on their calendar featuring not only spiritual and religious subjects but personal interest topics such as: “Aging with Grace”—The challenges of and the emotional dealing with all aspects of the aging process; and “A Time of Hope: Reflections of Cancer Survivors.” The Friars are inviting cancer survivors to gather for a weekend of sharing later this summer under the direction of cancer specialist Dr. Sukamal Saha (affiliated with Michigan State University.) Also invited to participate in the weekend are those currently undergoing cancer treatment, along with their caregivers.

In addition to planned retreats, the St. Francis Retreat House is available for outside retreats, as well as private and corporate meetings. It hosts many youth Kairos gatherings as well as the “Every 15 Minutes” programs held by local high schools reinforcing the results of underage drinking and driving to young adults; Marriage Encounter; Life Teen programs; Overeaters Anonymous meetings and other groups too numerous to list. On any given weekend you will find groups of mothers, teachers or friends who have come together for sharing and relaxation; and every year, The Evening Star Quilters fill the meeting rooms with sewing machines, materials and artistic ideas necessary to create their masterpieces. It is important to note that St. Francis Retreat House is a perfect place where any group with something in common can come together for peaceful exchange. One  popular program is the on-going Job Transition Workshop held the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 9:00 to 11:30 AM.  Workshop Facilitator Tom Emmerth said that this workshop serves the needs of those who have lost their jobs in current recessionary times. He explained that the job search is a solitary process and this program presents a forum for the meeting of minds to share ideas and experiences, hone job searching and networking skills, tweak resumes and quite simply, be a support group for each other and share the stress of  job-hunting in today’s economy. St. Francis Retreat House provides an environment of Franciscan hospitality and compassionate care. It offers an affordable oasis for those seeking spiritual nourishment and renewal through a wide range of retreats for both large and small groups. The retreat house is administered by helpful staff and friendly Friars who will be happy to assist. Visit stfrancisretreathouse.org for more detailed information regarding retreats, Franciscan history and their Mission, photographs, directions and volunteer opportunities. All are invited to visit St. Francis Retreat House to find out what it is all about. While there, check out their small but mighty gift shop featuring religious articles, books, cards and foodstuffs with wonderful names like “Burnt Sacrifice” BBQ Sauces, Prayerfully Popped Corn, Holy Chocolates, Monastery Maple Syrup and Carmelite Coffees. You’ll be delighted with what you find at St. Francis Retreat House. It is truly a little bit of heaven right here in the middle of the Lehigh Valley.

St. Francis Retreat House

Chipman Road
Easton, PA 18045


May 18th Shelter the Homeless

shelter homeless

Stories of homeless men, women, and children continue to touch our hearts with sadness and move us to prayer and deeds of charity. People from a variety of area shelters for the homeless will share their experiences of serving
people in need by offering them the hospitality of food, welcome, and temporary lodging. This is our conversation tonight as we continue our study of the corporal works or mercy. Fr. Dennet Jung OFM and participants in the Dorothy Day Group will facilitate tonight’s conversation.

We will offer special times of prayer, presentations, discussions, and a social gathering. We call these evenings Monday Mini-Retreats. The evening begins with a meal at 6:00 p.m. and concludes with night prayer at 9:00 p.m. On some of these evenings there will be a movie presentation for discussion; on other evenings there will be a dialogue presentation and discussion followed by a closing prayer. Please note the Monday evenings when these mini-retreats are scheduled, and please send in your reservations ONE WEEK AHEAD OF TIME. Contact the office at 610-258-3053 Ext. 10 or email stfranrh@rcn.com to make your reservations. Donations for these events are $20.00 person.                       Registration

May 1st, First Friday Retreat Day: “See Your Blessings; be a Blessing.”

Blessing friday

The retreat day will begin with registration at 8:30 am followed by coffee and pastry. At 9:00 am the program will start with morning praise and the first presentation. Around fr.dennet10:30 am there will be a break to walk the grounds, visit the gift shop or private prayer time. Around 11:15 am there will be the liturgy of the Eucharist, followed by a nice lunch at 12:00 noon in our dining room. 1:00 pm there will be a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament with the opportunity for the sacrament of Penance. 2:00 pm Benediction and closing. Suggested Offering: $25.00 (includes continental breakfast and lunch) Registration is required by the Friday before 610 258 3053 ex 10 or email stfranrh@rcn.com                         Register