Conference Center Connections


Retreat – a time to regroup, renew, and recreate… 

There are three interesting ways to look at the word retreat. Each shows a path to make this time away a fruitful experience.

One definition of ‘retreat’ is to withdraw, as an army might withdraw from a battle. Once away from the fight, there is time to regroup, put together a new plan, and go forward with renewed direction and purpose. There are some connections to this definition and going ‘on a retreat’. A retreat offers a person time to pull back from the daily ‘battle’, listen to some good advisors, and regroup for the challenges ahead.

Another interesting way to look at the word retreat comes from the Spanish word for the same, ‘retiro’. As it sounds, the word is linked to ‘retire’. In this sense, ‘retreat’ means to retire after a long day of work to get some much-needed rest, or to spend some time enjoying the fruits of a lifetime of labor, and renew one’s sense of purpose.

A unique way to look at the word retreat comes from a Latin word sometimes translated as retreat: recessus. This is the root of the English word recess, that magical play-time in elementary school. Recess gave children time to enjoy each other, release some stress, and return to the classroom with renewed focus.

Various retreats will be filling up the Fall schedule at the conference center: Catholic and Methodist deacons, men’s and women’s renewals, marriage encounters, and charismatic groups. In their own way, they capture all three nuances of a ‘retreat’: to regroup away from the battle of daily life, to find a place for some needed renewal after a long season of work. And maybe to come because they just miss recess, a time to recreate and re-create, make some new friends, and play.

A few retreat opportunities are listed below. Maybe one will be give you just what you need. If not, there is still some availability at the center. Inquire about how we can help plan your next retreat.

Scott D. Gilfillan, Deacon
Director, Catholic Conference Center

Walk to Emmaus chapel during men’s retreat.


How can silence and imagination improve your prayer life?

Come to the day of reflection Wednesday, October 17 and find out how silence and imagination can improve your prayer life. Sandra Breakfield with Catholic Charities has scheduled another great day of reflection as part of her work with the Elder Ministry. The presenter will be Fr. Patrick Cahill. The fee will be $18, which includes lunch. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a mini ‘retreat’.
Fall Day of Reflection
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
9:20 AM Check in
2:20 PM Closing Mass
Catholic Charities Elder Ministry
Register NOW8414a5ee-a2b1-4bd0-a6d9-e06368ade0b3.png

Some upcoming events…

Here are a few upcoming activities at the Catholic Conference Center that might give you an opportunity for a retreat:

07-Sep: Ladies Retreat; Corinth Reformed UCC
13-Sep: Women’s Walk with Christ
20-Sep: The Domestic Church; Education Vicariate
29-Sep: African American Affairs Ministry; Rosheene Adams
02-Oct: Congregation of the Mission; Our Lady of Guadalupe
04-Oct: Navigating Change in the Local Church; WNCC UMC
09-Oct: Big Sigh Ministries;
19-Oct: Marriage Retreat; Williamson Chapel UMC
26-Oct: Renovación Carismática Católica; Cendi Lopez
02-Nov: Contemplative Leaders in Action, Office of Ignatian Spirituality
08-Nov: Education Vicariate In-Service Training; Kay Jordan
09-Nov: Retreat for Women in Recovery, contact center for info
30-Nov: Walk to Emmaus; Men, St. Gabriel
7-Dec: Renovación Carismática Católica; Cendi Lopez
9-Feb: 25 Hour Marriage Getaway; Regnum Christi Carolinas
01-Mar: World Wide Marriage Encounter;

The Women’s Walk with Christ will be in Hickory September 14.
It is an INTENSE experiential weekend where” in the Light of Christ and with the Holy Spirit as our Guide, we explore our wounds.” Register now.

Join your mission with ours..

Our schedules are filling up, and the center has an immediate need for three key part-time positions: an Assistant Chef, a Kitchen Assistant, and a Housekeeping Assistant. If you are a retired person, a student, someone looking for a second job, or a stay at home parent looking for some additional income, consider applying online. Join your mission with ours to provide a beautiful space for renewal and evangelization to the thousands that visit the center each year. For more information on what each job entails, visit our website at Job Opportunities

Let us host your next event…

There are still a few openings on the weekends, plus plenty of weekdays. Consider using the center for a:

· Wedding reception

· Advent retreat

· Corporate planning

· Board development

· Holiday party

· Staff retreat

· Team Building

Or if you know of someone who might have an event, feel free to forward this email. If you would like to use our expertise to help plan your next retreat, contact us.

Volunteers set to restore the Ave Maria Chapel

There is a rustic chapel that can be found through a little portal in the woods on the center property. In front of the chapel is a babbling creek and a water wheel. It has been the favorite destination for many who come to the conference center looking for a place to ‘retreat’. Over time, nature has reclaimed some of the chapel. On September 29, youth groups and Knights of Columbus from St. Aloysius and Holy Family will begin the worthy task of restoring the chapel to its original dignity and beauty. If you would like to join the other volunteers with this project or with others around the center, please email work day.

We need your support…

You can assist the center in its important mission of evangelization and renewal. We are looking for individuals that can donate time, talent or treasure and beautify the center and help it become more effective in its mission. Below is a wish list:

  • Restore the Ave Maria Chapel (in progress thanks to St. Aloysius and Holy Family parishes).
  • Replace trail signs (Holy Family considering)
  • Convert the softball field into a multi-purpose field for soccer, ultimate frisbee, kickball (some groups considering)
  • Purchase a new monstrance (an individual has offered to clean and polish the old one, but it might be better to purchase new).
  • Purchase Statues of Mary and Joseph for the side walls in the Chapel.
  • Volunteer time to keep up to date our social media sites (Facebook, website, other outlets).
  • Donate some other time and talent helping out in the office or around the center. We could really use a handy man or woman for a lot of little improvements.
  • Pick your own project. Thousands visit the center. You can make a difference, and at the same time enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

If you have an interest in any of the above, or have some ideas of your own, please contact Deacon Scott Gilfillan,

May the peace of Christ, which is beyond all understanding, be with you always.

<>< Scott

“Come away to a secluded place and rest awhile.” Mk 6:31
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