3rd Big 2015 Announcement - God's Country Experiences
Dear Handmaids and Servants of the Gardener,

Happy Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas!

Our 3rd Big Announcement for 2015 summarizes our other God's Country Experiences. Historically, we have called these spiritual exercises "retreats." However, some focus group feedback concerning our first five years raised the issue about the proper naming of the kinds of activities that we sponsor. Among Baby Boomer Catholics, the term "retreat" is usually associated with extended periods of silence, minimal physical activity and participant interaction, and solemn celebrations of the sacraments. Our family-friendly exercises do not necessarily fit that description. So, we believe that we need to come up with another term that explains how we welcome families of all ages and sizes, how we use much physical activity and participation, and exuberant celebrations. For the time being, that term is God's Country Experiences for the whole category, but we still use the word "retreat" occasionally.

While the purpose of God's Country Experiences is a part of our mission to help all of Christ's disciples to grow in holiness, we do so with traditional spiritual exercises but in an unconventional setting. The following is a calender of these public God's Country Experiences that we have not previous mentioned in the 1st Big Announcement and in the 2nd Big Announcement for 2015.



First Friday Reparation Work Days
In reparation for sins against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we work on God’s Country to provide maintenance and repair of grottos, trails, and grounds, especially in preparation for First Saturdays.
9:30 a.m.    Work Detail Begins with prayer
12:00 p.m. Angelus/Bring Your Own Lunch
1:00 p.m.   Work Detail Continues until mutually agreed upon stopping point.
May 1, June 5, July 3, July 31, Sept. 4, Oct. 2, Nov. 6.

First Saturday Devotions
To fulfill the request of Our Lady of Fatima to observe Five First Saturdays in a row, we offer a family friendly retreat every month. Families may come and go as needed. Free Will offering taken.

The Summer Schedule follows (Central time):
  9:30 Registration at St. Michael Statue
10:00 The Message of Fatima at Our Lady of Grace Grotto
10:15 Examination of Conscience at Ten Commandments
10:30 – 11:15 Confessions in Commons Area
10:30 – 11:15 Stations of the Cross on Trail
11:30 Mass at Sacred Heart Chapel
12:00 Angelus/Regina Caeli before Pitch-in Meal
  1:15 Rosary on Trail
  2:15 Teaching on Prayer in Amphitheater or Chapel
  3:00 Divine Mercy Chaplet at Gardener’s Hut
  3:15 Departure or Free Time

Dates and Teachings:
Jan. 3 - “Missionary Work in China”
Feb. 7 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
March 7 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
May 2 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
June 6 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
July 4 -  Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
Aug. 1 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
Sept. 5 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
Oct. 3 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
Nov. 7 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker
Dec. 5 - Favorite Rosary Mystery by Guest Speaker

Lenten Soup with Substance and Speaker's Series

During Lent, Catholics prepare to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection with increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Our contribution to this season of penance is a candlelight/flashlight Stations of the Cross on the trail on God’s Country on Friday evening. Afterwards, we share a simple pitch-in meal of soup and bread. Then, a short meditation on some aspect of the Mystery of Redemption is provided by a local catechist, lay or ordained.
(Central time)

6:00 p.m. Candlelight, Outdoor Stations of the Cross
7:00 p.m. simple Pitch-in Meal of Soup and Bread
7:45 p.m. Reflection on the Mystery of Redemption.
9th_Station 2
Feb. 20 -     Friday after Ash Wednesday
Feb. 27 -   Friday of the 1st Week of Lent
March 9 -   Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent
March 6 -  Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent
March 13 -  Friday of the 4th Week of Lent
March 20 -  Friday of the 5th Week of Lent
March 27 - Friday of the 6th Week of Lent
April 3 - Good Friday with procession to the Tomb

2nd Annual Mercy Music Festival

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Celebrate God’s great and abundant mercy through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Headliner Artist: TBA.
Local Catholic musical artists
3:00-7:00 (Central).
Begin with the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the Gardener's House
Pitch-in meal,
RSVP by April 18.
Free Will Offering.
MMF_Initial1 2


3rd Annual Homeschool Retreat and May Crowning

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Theme: Love is Our Mission.
Confessions and Mass celebrated by Fr. Jean Vogler.
9:00-3:30 (Central).
Pitch-in meal.
RSVP by May 6.
Free Will Offering.


2nd Annual Artists' Retreat

Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015


Bring medium to work in;
other media will be provided.
8:00-4:00 (Central).
Pitch-in meal.
RSVP by Sept. 5.
Free Will Offering.
Theresa making cross


5th Annual All Saints' Day Party and Fall Family Fest

Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015

Come dressed as saints...
leave equipped as warriors.
1:00-5:00 (Central).
Pitch-in meal,
RSVP by Oct. 25.
Free Will Offering.


5th Annual Holy Family Fest

Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015

Begin on the Joyful Mysteries Trail...
stop at Nativity Cave to sing Christmas Carols.
Return to the Welcome Center
Bring Christmas goodies.
3:00-7:00 (Central).
RSVP by Dec. 20.
in Nativity cave 1

Please let us know how many are in your party when you RSVP to our e-mail (sjhf@psci.net) or phone 812-357-2119. We hope that you will invite your many family and friends because we always like to welcome new pilgrims and visitors.

By the way, we still have some openings for private God's Country Experiences in 2015 for your

Please contact us ASAP to book your private God's Country Experience.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

God's PEACE!

By God's grace, may I be mistaken someday as the Gardener's servant (see Jn. 20:15).

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St. Joseph's Holy Family, Inc.
25992 Cottonwood Road
Bristow, Indiana 47515

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