The Center for Family Care is committed to helping parishes promote family wellness and spiritual development in the family. Below is a synopsis of retreats our staff has offered. We are not limited to these topics and are happy to develop additional themes according to your parishes’ needs.
Retreats can be offered at your parish for adults as well as families. We are also happy to assist you in planning your own retreat. Please note, retreats are offered at no cost to your parish; honorariums not needed. However, we do ask that you assist with our travel and accommodation expenses. We look forward to planning with you.
For more questions, contact us at [email protected]
Fr. Alexander Goussetis (click for bio)
- Marital Conflict: Moving Towards Unity and Harmony
Marital conflict impacts our mental, physical and spiritual health. What are the roots of relational discord? How can we cultivate behaviors and practices that restore our marital commitment? This workshop will draw from the wisdom of Orthodox tradition together with contemporary literature in the field of psychology to provide practical suggestions for conflict resolution and relational growth.
- Renewed Day by Day: Enlivening our Marriage Commitment
This interactive couples retreat features video clips, couples’ exercises, wisdom from Church saints on the purpose/goal of marriage. In this retreat setting, couples engage in self/relationship reflection and group discussion.
- Family Prayer Time: Growing in Christ with Our Kids
Regardless of our children’s ages, appointed time for family prayer is a great opportunity to worship God as we deepen connections with our children. Learn—and expand upon—traditional practices of prayer in the home.
- “Speaking the Truth in Love” (Eph 4:15): Improving Family Communication
How do we dialogue with family members? Does our style of communication bring harmony and communion—or conflict and frustration? This is an invitation to discuss the ways we speak, listen, and understand one another.
- Generation to Generation: Sharing the Orthodox Faith with our Children & Grandchildren
What are the strategies for conveying and imbuing the Orthodox faith in our families? What formula did holy families in Church history apply? Learn, discuss, & develop tried and true practices of the ancient faith into our own families.
- Repentance in the Contemporary World
Does the ancient term repentance still have a role in modern marriage & family life? The format of this Lenten retreat features an interactive dialogue in developing the definition, roots, and application of repentance for contemporary Orthodox Christians.
- Finding Peace & Wisdom in Prayer
Geared toward married couples, this retreat explores the many practical features of our Orthodox spiritual tradition applicable to our daily life.
Presvytera Kerry Pappas (click for bio)
- Sacred Image, Sacred Marriage
This interactive retreat explores three dimensions of marriage: the person of the husband/wife, the intimate couple relationship, and the couple in the context of community by looking at the icons of Christ the Bridegroom, Saints Joachim and Anna, and the Wedding at Cana.
- Cultivating Communion in Marriage through Silence, Words and Deeds
In this retreat, couples will explore the value of the practice of silence as foundational for a healthy and whole marriage. Then the focus shifts to the use of words and listening in marriage, and finally, acts of love through the exploration of love languages.
- The Stages of Marriage: Chronos and Kairos
The chronological stages of marriage are filled with opportunities for couples to experience the grace of God, both in the "big" and "small/daily" opportunities and challenges that come within each of the stages. In this retreat, couples will explore the stages of marriage and reflect on the abiding presence of Christ in each of the stages, as He seeks to draw us nearer to Him and to one another.
- Underneath the Hats We Wear: Our Lives as Women in Christ
In this retreat women will name and reflect on the many "hats" they wear daily, the responsibilities that come with each of the "hats," and the abiding presence of Christ who seeks to transform us and draw us near to Him in the midst of the responsibilities, joys, and sorrows that each "hat" brings.
- Becoming a Compassionate Presence
Exploring compassion through the lens of the Old and New Testaments, participants will explore together what it means to be a compassionate presence for others.
- The Practice of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is the only option for Christians. But, what does it mean to forgive? How do we know when we have/haven't forgiven? How do we know if we have been forgiven? The retreat seeks to examine what the process of forgiveness looks like and what it might entail.
Presvytera Melanie DiStefano (click for bio)
- God Called Her, God Is Calling You: Reflections on the Annunciation of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
Geared toward teen groups and young adults and their parents, participants will examine events from the life of the Theotokos and make connections of how God similarly calls each person to bear His Son in their lives.
- The Ministry of Forming Beautiful Youth: An Inclusive Model Is a Beauty-Full Model
This workshop provides youth workers with practical tools to more fully engage young people with disabilities into all youth group activities, catechism, and programs.
- Let the Children Come to Me
Christ teaches us that we need to receive the kingdom of heaven like a little child. There is often a yearning to return to innocence in adults, a desire to look at life more simply with the joy and excitement we once did as children. Participants will explore what it means to “receiving the kingdom of heaven like a child”, and how Christ contrasts this to “adulterous” (unfaithful, hard-hearted) attitudes.
- In His Image: A Special Look at the Special Needs Family’s Vocation
Geared toward families of children with special needs, participants will examine ways in which their children are icons of Christ. These children are often deemed “substandard” by the world, yet have a special purpose in God’s plan. Parents may face intensive challenges in navigating their child’s care and may suffer with guilt feelings and anxiety. Retreat will help families see their special vocation, reflecting on how their children mirror God’s grace and how their familial love can be inspiring within their communities.
- What If We Were Real? Striving to Grow in the Truth of Christ
Because we were created in the image of God, being real means we need to see ourselves as relational beings modeled by the Persons of the Holy Trinity. An icon of the Holy Trinity is examined for the truths it conveys about God and human relationships. A case study of Saint Peter shows how increasing authenticity in personhood grew as his relationship with Jesus Christ deepened.
- Falling At the Feet of Christ
In our fast-paced, modern way of life we can fail to make time for quiet reflection. Anxiety over “to-do” lists steals the joy we could experience with our loved ones. This retreat focuses on the scriptural interactions of Martha and Mary with Jesus, validating the need to balance service and Sabbath, and the importance of “hearing” God’s words in scripture to guide the details of our daily lives.
- Body & Soul
Workshop will lead participants to a greater understanding of the sacredness of our bodies – meant to be “temples of the Holy Spirit”. Use of the physical world in the sacramental life can teach us how to value our bodies as vehicles of God’s grace, imbued with spiritual power. Feeding our bodies well allows them to function in unison with our souls for more wholeness, and holiness.
- Growing in His Glory
This retreat focuses on the event of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor, and His disciples’ witness of His Glory. Participants will follow Him as He ascends the heights of the mountain, witnessing what He revealed to His original followers, and to our own hearts as well. We will continue in His footsteps as He guides us to descend into the midst of daily life with all its possibilities for growth.
- Jesus: The Resurrection and the Life of the Family
A Lenten retreat offered to family members of every age by CFC staff members Father Alex Goussetis, Kerry Pappas, and Melanie DiStefano. With drawing activities, using icons and visual aids, participants will connect the experiences of Jesus’ disciples during His final days with them, through the Cross, and into His Resurrection, to their current life experiences.
Contact: Center for Family Care