Christ’s Peace House of Prayer is rededicated and consecrated
by Joe Bollig
EASTON — The long, gray, metal-sided buildings remain unchanged, as do the East Asian-inspired gardens outside. Many other aspects of this archdiocesan place of prayer remain the same.
But the heart of it all — the chapel — is different.
There is a new chapel crucifix with marble backing, a new marble tabernacle and a new marble altar. A new wood floor has replaced the earthen floor under the altar. Chairs (later to be replaced by pews and kneelers) have replaced the cushions.
The old Shantivanam is gone. Say hello to the new Christ’s Peace House of Prayer, just in time for the Year of Faith.
On Oct. 29, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann rededicated and consecrated the remodeled chapel, anointing the new altar with sacred chrism.
“We don’t necessarily always anoint and consecrate an altar and a chapel like this,” the archbishop said in his homily. “That’s normally reserved for parish churches.”
“But because this place, in my estimation, is to be such a special, sacred place of prayer,” he continued, “I wanted to do a more formal consecration of this new altar.”
Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist. The Mass was concelebrated by Father Richard Halvorson, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Paola; Father Richard McDonald, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Basehor; vicar general Father Gary Pennings; Little Brother Christophe, OP; and Father Alfred Rockers, retired and living in Leawood. The masters of ceremony were Father John Riley and Msgr. Gary Applegate.
About 50 people attended the Mass and reception, including members of the retreat house’s prayer guild, advisory board members, and other friends and supporters.
Archbishop Ignatius J. Strecker and Father Ed Hays established what is now Christ’s Peace House of Prayer in the early 1970s on 120 acres of land southeast of Easton. It was intended to be a place of prayer and spiritual renewal for all the people of the archdiocese.
Now, in this Year of Faith, that original vision is being celebrated. But it has also received a substantial makeover.
“At this moment in the history of this place, we wanted to renew and, in a sense, intensify the focus here on Christ — and hence the name Christ’s Peace House of Prayer,” said Archbishop Naumann.
“[It is] a place where people, we pray, can come to encounter the Lord Jesus in new ways,” he continued, “to experience his love in their hearts and lives, and to be renewed in their desire to follow him ever more closely. It’s my hope that his place will be greatly used in the days ahead.”
He said it was his hope that many priests and their fraternal groups will come and use it as a place for spiritual renewal, but not just the clergy.
“Even more, [we hope] that many of the laity — particularly in this Year of Faith — will find this place as an oasis,” said the archbishop, “a place to come and deepen their faith in the Lord Jesus, to deepen their love for him and their prayer, and to deepen their commitment to live their Catholic faith and follow him faithfully.”
Christ’s Peace House of Prayer has a main building with offices, a library, chapel, and a couple of courtyard guest rooms. It also has 12 private cabins for staff and guests. Ten of the cabins have heat and running water.
Several retreat options are available and include communal prayer, private prayer, eucharistic adoration, walking prayer, spiritual direction, guidance on how to pray, prayer in partial or full silence and solitude, and private group retreats. Director Vince Eimer also teaches contemplative prayer.
People can use the facility for half a day, a day, a weekend, a week, or even longer. Guests are asked to support the facility with freewill donations, according to the length of their stay and their use of the services and facilities.
“We want people to realize that it’s the presence of Jesus Christ that is present here,” said Eimer, “and it is through the silence that is found here, through the prayer life that is lived here, that they can find greater intimacy with Jesus.”
“In this Year of Faith, we’re trying to help people develop a deeper prayer life, help them to develop a closer relationship to Jesus,” he added. “Here [is] a place where silence is given, so the noise and distractions of modern life can be put on hold, so people can spend their time deepening their relationship with Christ.”
For more information about Christ’s Peace House of Prayer, call (913) 773-8255; send an email to: info@christs peace.com; or go to the website at: www.christspeace.com.
Finding Christ’s Peace
EASTON — Molly Rasmussen never doubted God. But organized religion? That was another story.
“I’ve always been a follower of Christ, but it has been difficult,” said Rasmussen, now a member of Corpus Christi Parish in Lawrence.
Simply put, her heart had been broken. She walked away from organized religion.
Rasmussen grew up as a member of the German Baptist (Dunkard Brethren) Church and later became a member of an evangelical Presbyterian church. Nevertheless, concern about her youngest son led her to enroll him in Corpus Christi School in Lawrence.
“Father Mick Mulvany and Sister Doris Engeman really took me and my son under their wings,” she said.
Rasmussen began attending school Masses with her son, which moved her tremendously. Before long, she began going to Masses with her son on non-school days.
She also met Catholics who offered her friendship and support — pastor Father Mulvany, Sister Doris, and parishioners Jim and Maggie Lock.
Eventually, Rasmussen converted to Catholicism.
Ironically, it was her non-Catholic mother who first told Rasmussen about Christ’s Peace House of Prayer. The former had learned about the prayer center through the books of its founder, Father Ed Hays. She used to read those books to Rasmussen as a child.
Rasmussen made her first trip to Christ’s Peace House of Prayer a little more than a year ago.
“I met [director] Vince Eimer and [staff member] Yvonne Streff,” said Rasmussen. “They taught me to sit in silence in the presence of God, to walk through the woods and be a child of God once again. I found my home. I found my life, the life God made for me.”
Corpus Christi Parish and Christ’s Peace House of Prayer taught her something about prayer and love. The church, Rasmussen learned, can be a good thing.
“I can come here [to Christ’s Peace House of Prayer] and practice something monks and nuns have practiced for years,” she said. “You learn to become one with God and to be in God’s presence at all times. That brings people back to the church.”