An ACTS retreat is a three-day, three-night Catholic lay retreat presented by fellow parishioners. The retreat begins on a Thursday evening as retreatants gather at the sponsoring parish for a short send-off ceremony. They are then transported to a retreat facility for the rest of the weekend. The retreat ends Sunday as the retreatants return to the sponsoring parish for a welcome Mass celebrated with the parish community followed by a simple reception.
Talks and activities during the retreat focus on Adoration, Community, Theology and Service, from which the ACTS program acronym is derived. Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are the guides for the retreats. The retreat takes on the traditions and atmosphere of the parish community sponsoring it. The retreat facilitates the attainment of a new or deeper relationship with the Lord through:
Adoration – the call by, acceptance of, and response to God
Community – the love and caring of each other
Theology – the study of God through scripture and the Catholic Faith
Service – to God and his people.
This results in a new or renewed dedication to the life of the parish community and a new recognition of the needs of those around us and of our obligation, as followers of Christ, to help meet those needs. The ACTS retreat weekend brings the retreatants to a better understanding of God’s love for them, and also develops their need to share that love with others through their involvement in a faith-centered parish community. It is a powerful community building experience and a powerful and enduring personal conversion experience.
Retreats for men, women and teens are given separately. Each retreat is conducted by a “retreat team” of 20-30 individuals who have attended prior ACTS retreats. Chosen by the Retreat Director, the team organizes the retreat, conducts the retreat activities, and ministers to the needs of the retreatants during the weekend. Total attendance is limited by the size of the retreat facility but the retreat will usually not exceed 70 people. With a retreat team of 20-30, the retreatants would then number 40-50.