Alverna Priestly Renewal in Christ
We know the demands of being a pastor, especially so soon after ordination, can bring difficulties such as isolation, stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed by so many responsibilities in pastoral ministry and administration. You are also ministering in a culture that is increasingly secular and antagonistic, while at the same time being deeply in need of your priesthood. Amidst these challenges, it is important as priests to seek deep, lasting renewal in Christ, so we are invigorated in the Holy Spirit and docile to His promptings, so you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (Rom. 12:2)
We invite you with our Lord to come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while (Mk. 6:31) from June 30 – July 26, 2024 at the Alverna Center in Winona, Minnesota to experience the Alverna Priestly Renewal.
Offered by The Saint Paul Seminary’s Institute for Ongoing Clergy Formation and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, this experience offers pastors a unique opportunity for priestly growth and renewal in your capacity as a pastor, as well as fraternal support, rest, healing and spiritual direction. The first five days are time for spiritual formation with Fr. Steven Hoffman (St. Peter’s, Mendota) and preparation for the eight-day directed retreat by Fr. Dan Barron, OMV (St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver). This will be followed by two weeks of human and pastoral integration of what you have received on the retreat. Paul Ruff (The Saint Paul Seminary) and Fr. Marty Schaeffer (Diocese of Winona-Rochester) will lead the third week’s seminar in human formation. During the final week, Fr. Lenny Andrie (St. Therese, Deephaven) will facilitate application of retreat insights to pastoral ministry and leadership.
Bishop Emeritus John LeVoir will serve as chaplain throughout the event. This four-week period offers the time and space necessary for a transformative, lasting experience and refreshing encounter with the Lord, priestly fraternity, recreation, and enhancement of your pastoral leadership and zeal. After six months, a follow-up opportunity will be provided for deeper integration of your experience.
The first experience in July 2024 will be available to a total of 12 pastors from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. The cost is $1,500. Space is quite limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
This unique opportunity is a collaboration of Paul Ruff, Assistant Director of Human Formation at The Saint Paul Seminary; Deacon Dan Gannon, Director of the Institute for Ongoing Clergy Formation; Fr. James Burns, President of St. Mary’s University; and Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV, Ignatius Chair for Spiritual Formation at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, who developed this opportunity for priestly renewal with other priests and laity.
Summary and schedule
This experience focuses on supporting and renewing the psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being of the priest, with the pastor returning invigorated in the Holy Spirit, at peace and with clarity of priestly identity and pastoral focus at his parish.
June 30: Arrival, social and dinner
July 1-5: Spiritual formation
- Focus on prayer as relationship,
- A heart-to-heart union with the Holy Trinity
- Concrete tools for daily prayer
- Discernment of spirits to equip the priests for the silent directed retreat that follows
July 6-12: Ignatian retreat – The retreat will not be rigid or formulaic, but meet each priest wherever God is stirring in his heart; the goal is to encounter the Lord’s love in a new way forward, living his priestly vocation with fidelity and joy
July 13-14: Personal time – recreation and rest, fraternity
July 15-19: Human formation
- Mediating Christ through our humanity.
- The role of pastor invites the priest to a deeper understanding of his strengths and gifts and healing of his wounds
- We will focus on deepening in self-knowledge and capacity for self-care, fatherly sacrificial gift in ministry, and fraternal charity
July 20-21: Personal time – recreation and rest, fraternity
July 22-26: Pastoral ministry and leadership
- Pastoral application of spiritual and human formation
- Christocentric leadership
- How does communion with Christ inform ministry?
- Transforming conflict into opportunity
- Delegating without abdicating
- Recognizing charisms and team building
8 a.m. Morning Prayer – Chapel
8:15 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Session I
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Session II
11:30 a.m. Mass – Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels
Lunch – Refectory
1:00 p.m. Recreation/spiritual direction available
4:30 p.m. Holy Hour – Chapel
5:15 p.m. Evening Prayer – Chapel
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Free time/social (Tuesday and Thursday)
9 p.m. Night prayer (optional)
To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.