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ACTS Missions Frequently Asked Questions
What is ACTS Missions?
ACTS Missions is a non-profit corporation with a board of directors composed of religious and laymen and women. Its mission statement reads: "ACTS MISSIONS is organized to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ among Catholic communities by promoting, consulting in, facilitating and sponsoring ACTS retreats."
What is an ACTS Retreat?
An ACTS retreat is a three-day and three-night Catholic lay retreat presented by fellow parishioners. The retreat begins on Thursday evening and ends the following Sunday at a Mass celebrated with the parish community. Retreats for men and retreats for women are given separately. Talks and activities during the retreat focus on Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service, from which the ACTS acronym is derived. Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are the guides for the retreats. The retreat takes on the traditions and atmosphere of the parish community sponsoring it. The retreat facilitates the attainment of a new or deeper relationship with the Lord through:
Adoration - the call by, acceptance of, and response to God
Community - the love and caring of each other
Theology - the study of God through scripture and the Catholic Faith
Service - to God and his people
Each retreat is conducted by a retreat "team" of 20-30 individuals who have attended prior ACTS retreats. Chosen by the retreat Director, the team organizes the retreat, conducts the retreat talks and activities, and ministers to the needs of the retreatants during the retreat weekend.
What is the purpose of the ACTS retreat?
An ACTS weekend is designed to help the retreatants enter into a new or deeper relationship with our Lord and fellow parishioners. This is accomplished through Adoration and daily prayer, the call to Community in one's parish as a member of the Body of Christ, and Theology in encouraging the study of scripture and our Catholic Faith. All of which emphasize and encourage the virtue of Service to our Lord, our parish, and one another.
What is the goal of an ACTS retreat?
A parish ACTS retreat strives to achieve the directives of Vatican II and goals of the Revised Code of Canon Law of 1983 which emphasize "community and pastoral care" within a parish. The weekend allows the retreatants to experience God's love and joy. They return to their parish with a deeper love for each other and a desire to become more involved in their parish faith community.
Why conduct an ACTS retreat?
The weekend is a powerful and enduring personal conversion experience. Talks, which draw from the personal experiences of team members, focus on Adoration, the need for prayer and meditation on the word of God, Community, the importance of community built on faith and love, Theology, the need to read and understand scripture and our Catholic Faith, and Service, the need to answer Christ's call to servant hood. Activities conducted during the weekend give retreatants a better understanding of the significance and importance of prayer, liturgy, the sacraments, scripture, community, and service. Retreatants are also given guidance to help them in their faith journey.
It is a powerful community building experience. The ACTS weekend brings the retreatants to a better understanding of God's love for them, and also develops their need to share that love with others through their involvement in a faith-centered parish community.
The retreat emphasizes our call to service, service to the parish community and to our world community. There results a new or renewed dedication to the life of the parish community and a new recognition of the needs of those around us and of our obligation, as followers of Christ, to help meet those needs.
How can an ACTS retreat happen for my parish community?
Several methods have been employed to bring ACTS retreat to parishes.
One method allows individual parishioners to attend ACTS retreats given by other parishes. After a substantial number of parishioners have attended retreats and have been part of a retreat team in other parishes, the parish may form a team to conduct a retreat for their parish. This method may take several years to progress to the first retreat.
Another method calls for individual parishioners to attend retreats offered by other parishes. After a minimum of 10 individuals have attended a retreat and commit to serving on team, ACTS Missions will form a retreat team composed of those persons from your parish who have attended a retreat and persons from other parishes with team experience to conduct a retreat for your parish. This first retreat will be led by one of the experienced team members. The other experienced team members will mentor the parish team members. A second parish-sponsored retreat can then be given with a team comprised by a majority of parish members. ACTS Missions can provide several experienced team members, literature, and guidance for this second team. ACTS Missions will give your ACTS community literature and guidance to facilitate the continuation of the ACTS retreat movement in your parish. The same process is employed in facilitating both men's and women's retreats.
A third method calls for ACTS Missions to come into your parish with a complete retreat team and give an ACTS Retreat for your parish. The team will organize the retreat and recruit parish members to come to the retreat. ACTS Missions will then organize a second retreat, building the team with parishioners who attended the first retreat and several experienced team members. Future ACTS retreats may then be sponsored by your parish, with teams composed of parishioners. ACTS Missions will give your ACTS community literature and guidance to facilitate the continuation of the ACTS retreat movement in your parish. The same process is employed in facilitating both men's and women's retreats.
In these last two methods, ACTS Missions will give your parish a two-year commitment. During this time it will organize and sponsor two men's retreats and two women's retreats and install the organization of parishioners to coordinate future retreats.
What is expected from my parish if we want an ACTS retreat?
The pastor's support is essential. His cooperation is important during the recruitment phase. He is usually the best recruiter for the first retreat. He can also facilitate connecting the team with other parish organizations for assistance in organizing different facets of the retreat.
Retreat facility costs make up the bulk of the retreat expense. Facility costs range from approximately $75-$150 per person for the three nights of the retreat. Additional expenses for literature, materials, postage and other ancillary items are approximately $20 - $35 per person. The total cost of an ACTS retreat may be approximately $110-$185 per person. As you see, the cost is very reasonable; however, there are those who may not be able to afford the weekend. In order to make the retreat available to all those who desire to go, the parish must underwrite a portion of the total cost of the retreat. The amount to be underwritten will depend on the particular circumstances of the parish and the available retreat facilities.
There may also be other expenses when ACTS Missions is sponsoring the retreat for the parish. These might include travel, room and board for pre-retreat visits, and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by the participating team members. These costs are usually borne by the volunteer missionaries, but any help in defraying their expenses is appreciated. The ACTS Missions office is located at the Oblate School of Theology.
You may reach the Director of Outreach, Tom Peterson at (210)-342-1077, ext 112 or email