Community members are working to revamp the Notre Dame Retreat House business model in hopes of saving the Canandaigua facility from its planned closure.
In March, the Redemptorist Fathers, an order of Catholic priests who run the facility, announced they would no longer offer retreat ministries as of August 1, 2023.
Committee includes local businesspeople, retreat goers and faith leaders
Located on a 100-acre property overlooking Canandaigua Lake, the 5151 Foster Road facility is the Finger Lakes’ largest retreat house.
The Redemptorist Order, a Catholic group headquartered in Washington, D.C., founded the retreat house in 1967.
The Notre Dame Retreat House serves as both an escape and a place of spiritual renewal for Christians, regardless of age or denomination, said a Thursday, August 4 release.
Comprised of businesspeople, retreat participants and faith leaders, the committee working to save the property is led by Canandaigua residents Paul Peterson and Gary Keating.
As the number of priests dwindle, outside support becomes a necessity
“Due to the shortage of priests, it’s simply impossible for us to maintain the number of Redemptorist Fathers needed to run the place,” explains Fr. Joseph (Frank) Jones, C.Ss.R., Rector/Director. “We welcome this effort by the community to explore possible ways to keep both the doors open and the mission alive for future generations.”
While still in its early stages, the committee plans to revamp the facility’s current retreat offerings and explore new avenues for utilizing the roughly 50,000-square-foot structure and surrounding walking trails.
“Gary and I have both attended numerous retreats at Notre Dame. It’s hard to quantify what this place has meant to so many. I can tell you my relationship with God is so much stronger because of my time spent here,” reveals Peterson. “And the response to saving this place has been outstanding. Everyone in the community is invited to join us!”
The Redemptorists would have to approve any and all potential plans.
How to get involved
Interested in supporting this effort? Head to www.notredameretreat.org.
Signing up for an upcoming retreat makes an immediate, positive impact, the release said.
Donations to support Notre Dame are accepted online through the following means: PayPal, Venmo or GoFundMe.
Physical checks can be mailed and made out to Notre Dame Retreat House, 5151 Foster Road, Canandaigua, NY 14424. Checks should include a footnote to “the Future of Notre Dame.”
All donations made to Phase 1 of this restructuring effort will be used for marketing efforts and facility improvements, according to the local PR firm handling press for this venture.