Christ’s Peace House of Prayer offers something for everyone
by Joe Bollig
EASTON — The woman had left the Catholic faith years ago as a teenager. As far as she was concerned, that door was closed and behind her.
Nevertheless, when she was invited to accompany a group to Christ’s Peace House of Prayer near Easton, she agreed.
And then the unexpected happened.
There, seated under the Divine Mercy image in the chapel, she heard a voice calling her back to Christ and the church.
“The Holy Spirit reached out to her while she was here and she came home,” said
Vince Eimer, director of the House of Prayer. “She is now receiving the sacraments again.”
Not everyone who comes to Christ’s Peace House of Prayer will have such a dramatic experience.
They will, however, have an opportunity to experience prayer in a way and setting that is today quite rare. Christ’s Peace House of Prayer, situated on 120 acres of fields and woods, is the archdiocesan ministry of contemplative prayer.
“What we are offering is a place of quiet and rest, of peace and prayer, and also a venue for groups and individuals to come and have a retreat,” said Eimer. “[They] may either participate in a retreat we offer or bring their own retreat master.”
The House of Prayer has a great deal of flexibility in terms of accommodating groups and individuals in a variety of spiritual exercises. People may come for an afternoon, a day, a weekend, a week or even longer.
Recently, the House of Prayer began offering specialized weekend retreats once a month, which are open to anyone. Past retreats have focused on themes of prayer, discernment and virtue.
The next weekend retreat, Nov. 1 to 3, will be an intensive contemplative retreat. The Dec. 13-14 retreat will be on St. Thomas Aquinas as a spiritual guide.
For individuals who would like something of shorter duration, the House of Prayer also offers daylong retreats. These have been used for small groups, parish staff, Serra Clubs and lay communities affiliated with religious orders. One group was as small as five, and another was as large as 45.
“One of the things we have done to make the chapel more attractive is to add pews and kneelers to facilitate eucharistic adoration,” said Eimer.
Of course, a person doesn’t have to be part of a group to visit the House of Prayer.
Persons can make individual visits of any duration. Visitors are always welcome.
“Tours are always available, if people are curious and just want to drop in and see what the place is like,” said Eimer.
Contemplative prayer days are on every third Saturday of the month, and all are welcome to participate.
The House of Prayer can “custom design” a retreat for groups or individuals that can include eucharistic adoration, the Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual reading, contemplative walks and individual spiritual direction.
Sometimes people aren’t sure what to do and just need a little guidance.
“A lot of people haven’t experienced a day of silence and solitude,” said Eimer. “I’ll sit down with a person and ask questions and listen to their responses. I’ll look at where they are spiritually and what they’re looking for.”
Non-Catholics are welcome and can find something for them, too.
“Everyone is welcome, except for hate groups,” said Eimer. “We really want to be an aid for all people to find Christ in their life and God’s path for them.”
“Our spiritual direction and teaching is Catholic, and everything is deeply rooted in our Catholic pathway,” he continued. “We believe anyone can find the value of a nice, restful place that is about spiritual truths and matters, even if they are not Catholic.”
The goal of a stay at the House of Prayer is for every person to take something valuable home.
“Hopefully, people will [come here and find] a spiritual exercise that is really beneficial and that they can take home and make part of their daily life,” said Eimer.
“We want them to develop tools so they will become more intimate with Jesus, because by [doing this] they will love him and love their neighbor more, and become more a channel of his grace,” he continued. “We want them to develop skills to become deeply spiritual people.”