North Carolina Prayer Center Begins Fifth Year

HNP Communications Features

STONEVILLE, N.C. — St. Francis Springs Prayer Center here enters its fifth year this month, enjoying a vibrant popularity and booking retreats for all of 2009 and well into 2010.

In its brief four years, the center has established itself as a popular retreat spot, according to Paul Cronin, development and marketing coordinator, well loved by both participants and staff.

“It has been a transformative experience for me to be a part of this ministry, and to say I feel blessed to be here, is indeed an understatement,” he said.

In fact, despite a bad economy, the center is almost booked solid for 2009, with 20 retreats already reserved for 2010.

“The one thing that has impacted me most is the effect that the center has on our guests,” said Cronin. “We have received the most beautiful and heart-felt cards and letters from individuals who have experienced the center.”

In January, the center honored its robust volunteer base with its annual Epiphany Volunteer Appreciation Party attended by 120 people.

Next month, the center hosts Holy Name friars for two events. During the first week of March, friars will be at the facility for a retreat. From March 20 to 22, the Province’s Vocation Ministry is holding its first discernment weekend event at the center.

The Province is a good friend of the center, giving another grant from its Benevolence Trust that will allow the center to again offer four Justice and Peace Weekend Experiences and a Justice and Peace Internship Program.

St. Francis Springs Prayer Center Director Louis Canino, OFM, said: “We are very excited about the internship program for our Justice and Peace Institute. This internship program will provide the tools and guidance to enable real change to begin helping those in need. It is a very timely program, given the current economic climate.”

In August, the center is offering a three-week sabbatical program, designed to offer a blend of experiences in spirituality, psychology, theology and education.

A testimonial from a guest printed in the center’s brochure sums it up best: “Very few places in today’s world speak to me of a sacred permanence. I wept when I entered St. Francis Springs Prayer Center — the place seemed to say that it would be there for me forever.”

For more information, visit the prayer center’s Web site at