News
Kurt and Lizzie Conrath participated in a “Christ Alive in our Marriage Retreat” in Milwaukee.

Send a message of congratulations
to Kurt and Lizzie

This was a wonderful opportunity to grow in our faith lives
both as individuals
and as a couple
Charis Ministries - Living the Jesuit Mission

March 26, 2014 - According to research by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, nearly one in three Americans was raised in the Catholic faith – but only 24 percent of Americans describe themselves as Catholic today. The Pew Forum also reported previously that, of the one in ten Catholic-raised American adults who have left the Church, many said it was because their spiritual needs were not being met.

The loss is particularly acute for people in their 20s and 30s – individuals who are making the transition from a home parish or university ministry and working through major life changes.

“This is a time when young people need the support of a faith community and the tools our faith provides, but many Catholics in their 20s and 30s say they don’t feel like they belong,” says Pam Coster, executive director of Charis Ministries, which provides retreats based in Ignatian Spirituality.

“There is evidence that many young adults are not being reached effectively by the Church,” Pam adds. “It’s our goal to provide support for them to reflect on God’s action in their lives, and discover the path to becoming faith-filled men and women for others.”

“Young adults today are not afraid to question, and many are seeking, or engaging in spiritual ‘tinkering’ as recent books and articles describe it,” she continues. “They communicate in new and constantly evolving ways and are used to creative interaction with each other and the organizations in which they are involved. All of this has an effect on their spiritual life and relationship to the Church.”

Founded in 2000 to address these trends, Charis Ministries has developed retreats based on eight themes chosen to respond to the particular needs of young adults. Rooted in the Spiritual Exercises, the retreats include silent reflection, spiritual direction and Ignatian prayer forms – all tools that can be used in daily life following a retreat.

Importantly, Charis retreats are peer-led. “Young adults provide the voice, leadership and spiritual inspiration for their peers,” Pam explains. “The stories of their personal transitions, and faith’s important role in them, inspire others to seek that same foundation.”

Kurt and Lizzie Conrath – who recently participated in a “Christ Alive in our Marriage Retreat” in Milwaukee – commend this approach.

“It was exciting to meet all these other people who are in a situation that’s similar to ours as a newly married couple, and who are drawn to their faith network as a support,” Kurt explains.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to grow in our faith lives both as individuals and as a couple,” says Lizzie. “Society often portrays marriage as easy, like a fairy tale, but we know from others that it will be difficult at times and requires continuous effort from both people. We want to start learning and implementing healthy habits and building a ‘toolbox’ of ideas to further cultivate our relationship and incorporate our faith more richly into our marriage.”

“What was special about this retreat was the specific emphasis on targeting newly married couples,” Lizzie adds. “It shows that the Catholic Church believes that this time in our lives is crucial.”

“Charis is only one resource for young adult ministry, but it is a very powerful one,” Pam concludes. “The retreats create a non-judgmental environment for those in their 20s and 30s to learn about the faith and to be given tools for discernment, prayer, building healthy relationships and deepening their relationships with God. Once those seeds are planted, they can bear fruit for a lifetime!”


If you'd like to read about others who are Living the Jesuit Mission, please click here.





Recent News

January 17, 2018 — “If I saw You on the street / and You said come and follow me…” These words from the song “You Can Have Me” by Sidewalk Prophets came on the radio one summer day. I had just graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and the words spoke to me in a life-changing way.

January 11, 2018 — Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, the Jesuit secondary school in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has appointed Fr. Timothy A. Howe, SJ, to serve as the school’s next president.

January 10, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of our brother, Fr. Thomas F. Ankenbrandt, SJ, who died on January 8, 2018, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.

January 9, 2018 — Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has selected Fr. William Verbryke, SJ, as its 12th president.

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. James E. O'Reilly, SJ, who died on January 5, 2018, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 91 years old. May he rest in peace.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2017

Jesuits Summer 2017

Jesuits Spring 2017



Jesuit Spiritual Center
The Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford spreads over 37 park-like acres overlooking the Little Miami River, 30 minutes east of Cincinnati.