"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."

A special "Thank you!"
Goes out to
John Michael Talbot
for giving us permission
to use his song on our
"Come to the Quiet"
You Tube Video
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Come to the Quiet"

The name Portiuncula comes from the Italian which means the
“Little Portion.” It is the little chapel inside the Basilica located
in Assisi, Italy that is the home for all followers of St. Francis
(Franciscans) throughout the world. The chapel was given to
St. Francis by the Benedictines and restored by St. Francis himself.
In it, he founded the order of Friars Minor that would later become
the Franciscans. It was here on March 28, 1211, that St. Clare
embarked on her monastic life. And it was here on October 3, 1226
that St. Francis of Assisi died. This is also where the name
originated for a Franciscan Hermitage and Retreat Center to be built
in Jerusalem, Ohio.

In 1996, a member of St. Mary's parish, who was also an Associate
of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana, inherited his
family farm located just outside Jerusalem, Ohio. It had been in
the family since 1803, the year Ohio became a state. With
approximately 300 acres of rolling meadows and forests high in
the foothills of Appalachia, it was ideal for a retreat center.
In the early Spring 2008, the Portiuncula Hermitage and Retreat
Center became a reality as six men boarded a church van at
St. Andrews Church here in Richmond and headed off on a 4 1⁄2
hour drive deep into the hills of Southeastern Ohio, in the
Steubenville diocese.

With a special blessing from Fr. Todd Riebe, the men set out on
their new adventure. The reason Fr. Todd loves the “Come
to the Quiet” concept for these retreats is because it is a “Silent
Retreat,” meaning no one speaks except when everyone comes
together to pray the Office of the Hours (matins, lauds, prime,
terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline). This means no one
has to sit and listen to someone talk and talk and talk for three
days. God does all the talking, and we simply “get out of His
way,” allowing Him to minister to each individual's personal
needs as He sees fit. Everyone is free to roam the meadows
and woods and enjoy absolute peace and quiet, where silence
is broken only by the chirping of birds or the occasional bark
of a groundhog or squirrel. That's right, no long-winded
sermons! Adding to the beauty and serenity are several herds
of White Tail Deer that roam the Portiuncula. One of the deer
herds has between 20-30 deer.

Dr. Tom Ringenberg was one of the first to encounter a “Come
to the Quiet” retreat. This is what he had to say: “The initial
reaction to a weekend of silence, fasting and prayer was
mixed as I revel in the world's flash of media and the
madness of twenty-four hour news. I feared boredom and
the lack of external stimulus. But God is good, and He
provided plenty for me. Walks in the woods and fields, silent
prayer and meditation, communal prayer with my Brothers
in Christ, prayers of intercession, and theological discussion
on the travel to and from Jerusalem stimulated my spirit far
more than my flesh has ever been stimulated.”

For many, the “Come to the Quiet” Retreat has become
something akin to becoming a Monk without having to
leave your day job! We will be having information gatherings
after Mass in all three parishes this Spring for everyone to
find out more and to schedule their retreat weekends.
Believe me, your life will never be the same!

So if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the rat
race of life, why not make plans now to simply “get away from
it all” and discover how wonderful life can be when you
embrace simplicity!


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