Celebrating 30 Years of Encounter, Engagement in Western New York

Suzanne English Around the Province

Mt. Irenaeus

WEST CLARKSVILLE, N.Y — Mt. Irenaeus is celebrating 30 years of “joining with Jesus Christ in making all things new,” with a series of events at the Mountain and around the country.

In fall 1984, people gathered in the woods outside West Clarksville, hiking and praying together, celebrating Mass on the lawn of a tiny, two-bedroom house on the site of what has become Mt. Irenaeus. Then, as now, they were seeking encounter, engagement and confirmation of the covenant that God has formed with us.

Beginning in fall 2014, events celebrating the 30th anniversary of Mt. Irenaeus have been held in Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y.; Naples, Fla.; Alamo and San Diego, Calif.; and Syracuse and Albany, N.Y., among others.

The geographic span of the celebrations emphasizes the nature of Mt. Irenaeus as a wellspring of spiritual re-awakening and transformation that takes place not only at the Mountain, but also “in the valley” and throughout the lives of those touched by its teachings.

Last July, the Franciscan Mountain Retreat began its commemoration of three decades of ministry with evenings of re-creation.

The celebration’s culminating event, including a Mass, dish-to-pass supper and concert, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Mt. Irenaeus. On Sunday, Sept. 20, the usual 11 a.m. Mass will be followed by a dish-to-pass brunch. Details of the celebration will be provided in the Mountain’s electronic and print newsletters. To sign up, visit www.mounti.com.

This summer, the Mountain friars and staff invite friends and supports to attend several events — five Wednesday evenings of re-creation and two transformational retreat weekends. Dates are provided on the Mt. Irenaeus website and on an informational postcard that says “Our theme this summer is ‘What is Franciscan about our spirituality?’”

— Suzanne English is secretary of the St. Irenaeus Fraternity OFS and a member of the Mountain’s Communications Committee. An essay that she wrote in 2012 was published in the Franciscan Influences series of HNP Today