Spiritual retreat centers face financial challenges in tough times
Published: June 9, 2010
WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- For the past 36 years, Larry Bucci has traveled about 40 miles to Malvern, Pa., on the last weekend in April to participate in the Archbishop FitzMaurice men's retreat at Malvern Retreat House, also known as St. Joseph's-in-the-Hills. The number of men who make the Archbishop FitzMaurice retreat has declined over the past decade, from more than 300 to the 220 who gathered this year. The lingering effects of the recession and increased time pressures on families today are mostly to blame for the decrease, said Bucci, who heads efforts to recruit men for the retreat. "It's been a challenge, more so in the last three years because of the economic situation," he told The Dialog, Wilmington's diocesan newspaper. Centers such as Malvern, Jesus House Prayer and Renewal Center in Wilmington and the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, Pa., have survived the economic and time pressures and other challenges. Those challenges include increased competition from parish-based spiritual development and faith formation programs and from websites such as the DeSales Spirituality Center, operated by the Wilmington-based Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, which includes daily Scripture reflections and online retreats. Others have not been as fortunate. St. Pius X retreat center in Blackwood, N.J., which will close June 30, will be at least the sixth center in the region to close in recent years.
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