Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua will close its doors during the summer of 2023.
The Redemptorist priests of the Baltimore Province will cease to offer their long-standing retreat ministry at the facility by Aug. 1, 2023, according to the retreat house’s rector, Redemptorist Father Joseph “Frank” Jones.
The impending closure is due to a combination of several factors, but chief among those are financial challenges as well as a lack of priests available to staff the ministry, Father Jones said.
“This happened kind of quickly for us, but I know it’s been in the background for a long time. Manpower has been a simple, cold, hard fact to deal with for a number of years,” Father Jones explained. “Like all religious orders and the diocese, you can’t do things without the manpower. Just as the diocese has been forced to close various parishes, the superiors of the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province made the decision that we needed to close the Canandaigua (ministry).”
The Redemptorists established Notre Dame Retreat House in the mid-1960s and since then have offered numerous retreats and conferences at the retreat house, which is situated on a hillside overlooking Canandaigua Lake. The Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province do own the retreat house and its grounds, but as of yet there have been no discussions about whether the property might be sold, Father Jones said.
Retreats and events scheduled to occur at Notre Dame Retreat House during 2022 will still take place, he added.
“We have no plans of changing anything or discontinuing any programs until the end of December of this year. I will be meeting with my staff this upcoming week to discuss what we can do into 2023,” Father Jones said.
Parishes, schools and diocesan agencies with events scheduled to take place at the retreat house were encouraged to check in with Notre Dame’s staff, according to a Feb. 25 memo from Bishop Salvatore R. Matano.
The Redemptorist priests and the valuable ministry they provided within the Diocese of Rochester will be greatly missed, according to Bishop Matano.
“This is sad news for our Diocese, which for so many years has enjoyed and benefited from the ministry of the Redemptorists, who have provided parish ministry, as well as much-needed times for prayer, contemplation and sacramental enrichment at retreats, days of recollection and other spiritual programs for our priests, deacons, religious, laity and our youth,” Bishop Matano stated in his memo.
Filling the void left by the Redemptorists and their ministry at Notre Dame Retreat House will be “a great task,” yet Bishop Matano appreciates the reasons for the congregation’s decision and unites with the Redemptorists in prayer and thanksgiving as they seek to carry out their mission with the resources and personnel available to them, he wrote.
“At the same time, we pray that the Lord will bless them with vocations to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and one day they will return to our Diocese,” Bishop Matano wrote.Tags: Ontario County News, Religious Orders