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 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" composed of 20-30 individuals who have attended prior ACTS retreats. The team organizes the retreat, conducts the retreat talks and activities, and ministers to the needs of the retreatants during the retreat weekend.
Q: What is ACTS?
A: ACTS is an acronym that stands for Adoration, Community, Theology and Service. It is a retreat format that was started in San Antonio, Texas and grew out of other retreat formats that already existed. It is centered on how we as Catholics can improve our relationship with God and build a better, stronger faith community. As you might guess, you will hear a little about each of the elements of the ACTS acronym on your retreat.
Q: So what EXACTLY happens on the ACTS retreat? What activities? Is it a silent retreat? If not, am I required to participate?
A: This isn 't a silent retreat—it is more participative. While the retreats are planned around the same format, they all happen a little differently and part of the blessing (and enjoyment) of the retreat is discovering what it means to you as it happens. For this reason, it is hard to get into specifics. There is prayer, reflection, liturgy and discussion. You can choose to participate in the discussion as much or little as you like. People are different, so their experience and reaction to the retreat differs, but if you talk to men and women who have been on the retreat, you 'll see that responses are typically very positive.
Q: How is the ACTS retreat run?
A: The retreat is run by your fellow St. Peter parishioners—men if you're on a men's retreat and women if you're on a women's retreat. They spend time prior to the retreat meeting weekly and preparing spiritually for the retreat, as well as handling most all the planning and logistics for the weekend.
Q: How long is the ACTS retreat? What do I prepare for?
A: The retreat begins at church on Thursday evening at about 6:15p.m. and is completed at 11:00a.m.Mass on Sunday. Take into consideration the time of year and pack appropriately. While most of the activities take place indoors, you will likely spend some time outdoors. Also, pack things you would typically bring for a short trip—toiletries, medications, etc. Bring clothes appropriate for Mass on Sunday.
Q: What about accommodations and meals?
A: The retreat takes place at Mercy Center in West St. Louis County. The food is great—three meals are served each day and the retreat team makes certain that snacks and non-alcoholic beverages (water, soda, coffee) are available during the day. If you have special dietary needs, it is helpful if you note them on the registration form when you sign up for the retreat.
Q: So, if I go on the ACTS retreat, am I required to participate more in the future? Do I have to do certain things? Do I have to be on a retreat team or be involved in other ACTS centered activities?
A: The short answer is no, you don't have to do anything after the retreat. Hopefully, during the retreat you learn things about your faith, yourself and the way others practice their faith. The goal isn't more members for a group, it is a better, stronger relationship with the Lord. If that relationship moves you to also become more active in our parish community, that's great!