Interested in a Pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Florence, and Venice? Fr. Tom Smith will be taking a group to Italy June 13-24, 2016. This could be a great chance to enrich your faith, see the Pope, and enjoy Italy. For more details, click here or contact for Tom and he can describe it to you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Eighty juniors from St. Raphael Parish in El Paso came to Holy Cross April 16th and 17th for their Confirmation retreat. On Saturday evening they spent almost two hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, with guided meditation and a Healing of Memories as part of the prayer. Beautiful...
About 45 Secular Franciscans gathered at Holy Cross for the Regional Chapter and Visitation Meeting March 31-April 3rd. They came from many fraternities around New Mexico and western Texas, as well as national representatives from California and Wisconsin. The retreat center is happy to promote the Secular Franciscan charism!
The Good Works Volunteers with the help of a few others have completed the renovation of the large conference room. Besides new wall covering,paint, and lights they have mounted a large screen TV, highlighted the crucifix with a new background (left), and hung pictures of some of the early Franciscan Missions in New Mexico and west Texas.
Fr. Tom Smith had the opportunity to join with about 250,000 other people at the mass with Pope Francis when he came to Juarez on Feb. 17, 2016. It was very amazing to concelebrate and feel the excitement of the crowd, as well as their prayerfulness. His message about care for the immigrants who suffer much crossing the border was very touching. Fr. Tom was fortunate to be in the second row with other priests from the Diocese of Las Cruces. To watch a video of the Pope in procession for the mass, go to https://youtu.be/38vcF-DadwE To see the video of Tom's interview for KFOX TV a week before the Papal mass go to https://youtu.be/QbkK4wh0mZI
The senors from Padre Yermo Catholic High School in El Paso came as they do each year in January. We were pleased to see their enthusiasm and also their attentiveness during the retreat and the liturgies. May the Lord bless them as they graduate and go forth this spring!
The new 580 pound bronze bell was blessed and installed in the tower of the Chapel on Feb. 4, 2016. Over twenty people joined us for the prayer and joyful ringing once it was operational. Many thanks to all who contributed toward the cost and those who arranged for it to be safely mounted!
Twenty six women from the Fort Bliss Catholic Chapel came for a weekend retreat, seeking the presence of God and encouragement for their unique situation as military families. Fr. Isaac from Fort Bliss was with us for the weekend as well. They seemed to appreciate the retreat led by Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. with the help of Pam Lynch. In this picture the women were praying the rosary outside by the new Chapel. They will be sending a teen group and a men's group as well during 2016.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been observed since 1908 as a time in which Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity. By annually observing the WPCU, Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one." (cf. John 17:21)
Holy Cross Retreat Center invited Pastor Rob Reed from the Sonoma Springs Evangelical Covenant Church to be the guest preacher at an ecumenical service on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30pm. Pastor Rob was born in Ecuador where his father was a missionary, served in Spain for a number of years, and has been pastor in Las Cruces for six months. He also completed part of his studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and has a great interest in ecumenical dialogue.
Pastor Rob was well received by the 45-50 people who attended, including members of several other churches in the area. We lit a candle and shared in a pinch of salt as a reminder that we are the "Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth." We also shared in a loaf of nice bread at the conclusion. Our hope is to have occasional ecumenical and interfaith services such as these.
Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv.
The OFM friars from six provinces in the United States and three Conventual friars joined together Jan 4-8, 2016 for a retreat led by Fr. Jude Winkler OFM Conv. The reflections on the Gospel of Luke and the Emmaus story and the prayer time and fraternity were much appreciated.
The 2015 Annual Report with a recap of the past year, pictures, a financial report, and a list of many retreats and events from January to June 2016 is available.
El Reporte Anual de 2015 con eventos del año pasado, un reporte financial, una lista de retiros y eventos enero de junio, está disponible.
The local Health magazine did a cover story on the Holy Cross Retreat Center as a "House of Healing" describing a retreat as a way to heal our souls and spirits. You can see all the pictures of the Chapel and the article by clicking here.
The Choir from Mayfield High School in Las Cruces came for a Christmas concert in the Chapel on Dec. 1st. It wa enjoyable to promote the arts especially among young people. Derek, the director, had come to HCRC for an Engaged Encounter and asked to have the event here.
On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, a group came from El Paso to lead a Taizé prayer service in the Chapel. This style of meditative prayer was developed at an ecumenical community in southern France. It includes simple refrains, in several languages, Scripture, and silent prayer. The people found it quite peaceful and renewing. We hope to have them return in the future.
The local Health magazine did a cover story on the Holy Cross Retreat Center as a "House of Healing" describing a retreat as a way to heal our souls and spirits. You can see all the pictures of the Chapel and the article by clicking here.
The 2015 Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts went very well, with generally pleasant weather and steady crowds. Over 100 artists and food vendors participated, giving people a nice variety of styles and options. The music in the gazebo and the Beer Garden was much appreciated and it was a good day. Many thanks to all who helped or came!
Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. was an invited for an interview on KRWG public radio that was broadcasted on August 22nd. During the 15-20 minute interview he described the new Chapel, labyrinth, and Rosary Walk and the upcoming Art Festival on Sept. 5th and 6th. To listen please go to: http://krwg.org/post/ancient-traditions-come-alive-franciscan-festival-fine-arts
Twelve of us were part of the 2015 "Pilgrimage to the early Franciscan Missions in New Mexico. We were able to visit 14 sites, taking time to hear from a local representative, to reflect, and celebrate Eucharist each day. Some of the best presentations were by lay people who experienced the history of the mission and shared their personal experiences as well. This photo was taken in front of San Agostin Mission in Isleta. Another pilgrimage is planned for August of 2016 for those who might be interested
The Rosary Walk east of the new Chapel is finished and is being used by retreat groups and many individuals. It is in the shade all afternoon and parts of it much of the morning. Many thanks to Kat Dube and the Good Works Volunteers for developing a prayerful and beautiful space!
The labyrinth next to the Rosary Walk is also ready for use. Sal Melendrez and the Newman Center staff, students, and volunteers have prepared a space for meditation on our lives. You might want to try it sometime.
A group of 90 from St. Mathew Parish and St. Luke Parish in El Paso came to Holy Cross for an ACTS retreat April 16-19th. The women appreciated the atmosphere of the retreat center, and especially enjoyed the space and the beauty in the new Holy Cross Chapel. Here they are waving good bye shortly before leaving on Sunday morning.
Several of the Medical Mission Sisters came for retreat time and time together from Apr. 16-20th. Having come from Arizona, California, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania they seemed delighted to have time to pray and enjoy the southern New Mexico culture!
The Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces held their annual Presbyteral Assembly March 23-25, 2015. About 45 priests who serve in the Diocese received updates on different topics, prayed together, and shared in a presentation on "Peace and Justice" on Tuesday, led by Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. In this photo, Bishop Oscar Cantú told the assembly about his experiences in the area of Peace and Justice on the international level. It was a good time for the priests to get to know those who have recently started ministering in the Diocese as well.
The Holy Cross Retreat Chapel was dedicated on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 by Bishop Cantú and Bishop Seitz in the presence of over 250 people. The ceremony began outside as the architect presented them with the plans, and the contractor with the keys (note the picture). Fr. Jim Kent OFM Conv. Minister Provincial of the friars, then offered the Chapel in service of all who seek a retreat and deepened growth in God. The anointing of the altar and the walls was probably the most moving part of the ceremony. We concluded with a joyful reception. Come join us for a retreat, as listed on retreat calendar on this web site, or just for a visit so you can see it for yourself!
The Annual Report for 2014 providing pictures and an overview of the year's activities and finances is available on line at this website. Please click on the "Newsletter" tab. I hope it is useful and interesting. Feel free to pass it on to others who might like to see it.
El Reporte Annual por el año 2014 con fotos y una descripción de las actividades y los ingresos y gastos está disponible en este sitio de web. Puede usar el "Newsletter" tab. Espero que esté interesante. Puede compartirlo con otras personas también.
Holy Cross Retreat Center hosted a vccation retreat for those considering religious life as a Franciscan. Ten young men came from several states to listen to the experiences of friars and consider whether being a Franciscan could be their calling. At least two seem very interested and we continue to invite others to discern their own vocational journey.
The Campus Ministry at St. Albert Newman Center brought over 50 NMSU students to Holy Cross Retreat Center for an Awakening retreat Oct. 24-26th. Students who have already participated in the retreat were the leaders and organizers, with assistance from the campus ministry staff. It was encouraging to see their faith and desire to grow spiritually.
The 2014 Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts went well, with over 5,400 people attending the two days to enjoy the art, music, food, and peaceful atmosphere.
Here is a picture of New Mexico santero, Margarito Mondragon, and his wife Gloria with some of his art work.
An interview with Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. describing the Retreat Center and the Festival is availalbe online at: http://krwg.org/post/franciscan-oasis#.U_gTYJ53xLg.email
This is a picture of the Church of San Francisco in Rancho de Taos. It is one of the early Franciscan missions that we will visit during the pilgrimage Aug 4-8. A group will leave Holy Cross on Monday morning about 8:30 and drive to Santa Fe. From there we will visit the early missions just north and in the city. We will stay at a retreat center nearby. Then we will drive to Albuquerque and spend two days making a prayerful pilgrimage to the early missions in that surrounding area. There will be mass each day in one of the missions and a local historian to give us backgound. Learn more about early history of New Mexico! The cost is for ovenight stay, meals, and gas for car pooling. Last year it wasn't more than $300.00 per person. Call 575 524 3688 to talk to Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. for more details and to register.
The basic shape of the Chapel is now visible. Here you can see the eight large vigas installed and the roof trusses above them. The outside shape is very clear now. You will be pleased when you see how much has been done next time you come! The people in front of the Chapel are Franciscans from around the United States, Zambia, Italy, Honduras, and India,
From June 1-6th, the OFM Franciscan Friars from Guadalupe Province gathered for their Provincial Chapter. This is a time to review reports, discuss priorities and plans for the future, and choose new leaders. They also celebrated the ordination as a deacon of one of the men in formation. Here is a photo o f the reception after the ordination. In front you can see Charlie Martinez, Bishop Cantu, Jack Clark Robinson (incoming Minister Provincial), Gino (outgoing Provincial). May the Lord bless them as they continue their life and ministry in the Southwest.
The "Aggie Awakening" retreat sponsored by St. Albert Catholic Newman Center for students at New Mexico State University was held at Holy Cross Retreat April 4-6, 2014. This is a retreat largely prepared and given by the students themselves. From what I gather this retreat format is somewhat based on Cursillo and Search Retreats, and began in 1974 at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. St. Mary Center at Texas A & M started in about 1983. (They are now on #101) We are pleased to see a retreat oriented to young adults and happy to support their presence here. NMSU students have already scheduled for the next couple years at Holy Cross to continue to offer this retreat for more people.
"Jesus as a Model of Selfless Love" Good Friday retreat
April 18-19, 2014 Holy Cross Retreat Center
Fifteen people were able to take time on Good Friday and Holy Saturday for reflection on the Triduum and quiet prayer. It was a gift to enhance the preparation for Easter
Blessing and Ground breaking ceremony for the New Chapel!
On Sunday, March 3rd, Bishop Cantu from Las Cruces and Bishop Seitz from El Paso joined with Franciscan Minister Provincial, Fr. Jim Kent OFM Conv, other friars, and about 60 people for the blessing and ground breaking. Fr. Wayne spoke about the water in the fountain, opportunity for Reconciliation, and the Eucharist uniting us with the cross of Christ. Tim Curry Construction has been selected for the project and they expect to begin with the next couple weeks, and be finished by the end of 2014.
A new group called "Emaus Retreat" came here to Holy Cross. It was started in Miami, FL in the 1970's in English and has since spread in Spanish as well. A group of 52 women mostly from Las Cruces and the surrounding area came Dec. 6-8, 2013 to be renewed in their spiritual and pesonal lives. May the Lord continue to move in their hearts and their homes.
The leadership of the Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Consolation and of our friars in Central America spent several days at Holy Cross at the end of October. Here is a picture of them in front of our new friary where there are now six of us living.
A group of women have come annually to Holy Cross Retreat Center for over ten years to spend five days making quilts. As relatives and friends they enjoy the time together, and add a nice dimension to those who come here.
36 men lived the ACTS retreat from St. Stephen Parish in El Paso the weekend of August 1-4, 2013. They experienced a sense of faith and community that helped them renew their own lives and will touch the hearts of their families and the people in their parishes.
Holy Cross Retreat We are pleased to announce that we were recently awarded a grant to conduct a youth camp here at our facilities at Holy Cross. The camp targeted youth from ages 12 – 14 or from 6th grade to up to freshman year. We provided two sessions: July 15 – 18th and July 22 – 25, 2013. The camp touched upon issues such as leadership, spiritual awareness, crafts, and outdoor activities including sports, hiking and games. Fr. Tom assisted a bit with music and a talk on prayer and the use of clay to see how God molds us. Many thanks to Juan Albert for his efforts in seeking the funding, promoting the event, and directing it with the help of two young adults from Holy Cross Church in Las Cruces!!
The OFM friars from Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe gathered at Holy Cross from May 27-30, 2013 for an Assembly to do some planning and to promote fraternal communication. This is a picture of them praying Morning Prayer together. it is always good to have the friars with us here!
Retreat with the Deacon candidates and their wives from the Diocese of Las Cruces
On the weekend of May 10-12, Fr. Tom led a retreat for the deacon candidates and their wives. It provided a time of prayer and reflection for them as part of their formation. The men were (back) Jim Brueggen, Richard Rodriguez, Andy Weiss, Jim Winder, Richard Hinderliter, Lonnie Briseno, Manny Madrid, Jerry Pierce, front Art , Tim Flynn, Ruben Gutierrez, and Gilbert Chavez and Kenny Quade. The women present at the time of the picture were (back) Lucy Briseño, Maria Gutierrez, Janet Hinderliter, Marie Quade, Ruth Madrid, Velma Rodriguez, Rosamaria Gutierrez, and Donna Pierce.
For many years in the past the Retreat Center hosted a barbecue for the area. I have heard various stories of digging pits, music, and raffles, and lots of people. Here is a picture of three people who came, with the plates empty and stomachs full!
Secular Franciscans from the New Mexico and West Texas region gathered at Holy Cross from Jan 31 till Feb. 2nd. It was encouraging to see the faith, energy, and sense of service which they share. We are grateful for how well they help sustain the Franciscan spirit. Donna Hollis, from our staff, is the regional minister!
Every since at least 1960, the Seniors form Loretto Catholic High School in El Paso have come to Holy Cross Retreat Cetner for a retreat. Jan. 23-25, eighty-four students and six staff came to enrich their faith life. The students shared their energy and their laughter, and shed a few tears as well. As is most often the case, they formed the number of their graduation year for the final picture. May the Lord bless them as they move forward!
The ACTS retreat from St. Stephen Parish in El Paso brought 42 candidates for the weekend of Nov 8-11, 2012. There was some usual reluctance at first, but they responded very well and gathered here under the gazebo for a Saturday afternoon photo. May the Lord bless the candidates, the team who did so well, and all members of the parish!
Forty one priests from the Diocese of Juárez came for their annual retrat October 1-5th. It is good for them to have this chance to see each other in another setting and to grow in their spiritual development. Their bishop, Renato Ascencio León, also joined them for part of the week. The same week we had a group of fifteen people with "La Obra de los Santos Angeles" which is included people from El Paso and Juárez as well. It is good to be able to provide a welcome place for the people of Mexico as well.
Un total de 41 sacerdotes de Diócesis de Juárez participaron en su retiro anual la semana del 1 al 5 de Octubre. Su retiro les da una buena oportunidad de compartir y crecer en su formación espiritual. Su obispo, Renato Ascensio Leon, también estuvo presente parte de la semana. Además de los sacerdotes de Juárez, también estuvieron un grupo de 15 personas que llegaron desde El Paso Y Juárez para un retiro cuyo nombre es “La Obra de los Santos Ángeles. Para nosotros nos agrada de poder recibir nuestros hermanos y hermanas de México.
Joanna Bradley (on left) awaits people to come and see her creations.
On the right, Juana Melero and Esther Jasso, cooks for Holy Cross, prepare some of the enchiladas for about 850 people.
A group of about 25 friars and 30 guests gathered on September 13th to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the first retreat at Holy Cross and the 100th anniversary of the original home. We began with a solemn prayer service, cointued with a nice meal prepared by the cooks, and finished with memories by those where were firars here when the retreat center was first built, Bishop Ramirez who has been a long time supporter, Dr. Bob McComas, Fr. Sebastian Cunningham, and some thoughts about the future by Fr. Jim Kent OFM Conv., the minister provincial of the friars. We look forward to many more years of fruitful ministry!
On September 14th, the workers poured concrete for the footers and floor of the new friary. This will provide a space for seven to live, including handicap accessible rooms for the senior friars. It is good to see the progress!
Queen of Peace men from Spanish ACTS retreat here listened to a story by Pedro. The group often prayed for Fr. Rick Matty during the weekend.
Teens from St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso gathered for an early morning mass with Fr. Mariano López as part of the Teen ACTS retreat on June 15, 2012.
Some of those on "The Desert as a Place to Pray" retreat gathered for the rosary at dawn, overlooking the Organ Mountains. They also prayed under the moonlight in an open space, and went to an isolated section of desert for quiet time.
The Men from St. Luke and St. Matthew gathered to welcome 59 retreatants for an ACTS weekend May 3-6, 2012.
Fr. Giles Carie, OFM Conv., died April 17, 2012, in Las Cruces NM. He was born George Carie on January 25, 1935 in Vincennes, IN to Urban and Helen (Bono) Carie.
Fr. Giles entered the Conventual Franciscan Order in 1952 at Angola, IN, making his solemn profession of vows in 1956. He studied for the priesthood at the Collegio Serafico St. Bonaventure in Rome, Italy, receiving two degrees in Sacred Theology, and was ordained there on March 18, 1961. He returned to the U.S. and began serving in pastoral ministry, moving in 1964 to the southwestern U.S. where he was to spend most of the rest of his life. In addition to his work in parishes, Fr. Giles served as a canon lawyer in the Dioceses of El Paso (TX) and Las Cruces (NM), and for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (NM). He served in parishes in New Mexico (Artesia, Lovington, Hobbs, Doña Ana, Carlsbad, Las Cruces, and Tortugas) and in El Paso. He also served at the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, NM, where he was living before his final illness.
He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his brother Noel, of Memphis, TN.
Visitation will be at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tortugas, NM, Sunday, April 22 2-8:30 pm. The address is 3600 Parroquia Street, Las Cruces, NM. Rosary at 4:30pm and a vigil service at 7 pm Sunday, with time to share memories of Fr. Giles. The funeral is Monday, April 23, 10 am, with burial in the Tortugas Cemetery. A luncheon will be served in the parish hall.
Donations may be made to the Holy Cross Chapel Fund, Holy Cross Retreat Center, 600 Holy Cross Rd. Mesilla Park, NM 88047, or to the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, 101 St. Anthony Drive, Mount St. Francis, IN 47146. To make a donation online, or for more information about Fr. Giles’ life and work, please visit www.franciscansusa.org
The Priests from the Las Cruces Diocese met once again at the Retreat Center for their annual Assembly. About 40 men gathered with Bishop Ramiriez to learn about good principles for management and integrating ministry with caring for volunteers and sound business practices. Three people from Villanova University led the workshop. It was followed by the business meeting for the diocese.
We welcome the women from St. Pius Parish in El Paso for their ACTS retreat at Holy Cross Retreat Center. In this picture you can see them gathering in the small Chapel for the team mass.
Holy Cross Catholic Retreat and Conference Center, located in Mesilla Park New Mexico. is a non-profit, religious, ecumenical retreat/conference center operated by Conventual Franciscan Friars.
We invite you to visit us for a private or group retreat in our serene environment.
Holy Cross Retreat welcomed 46 couples for an Engaged Encounter March 3 and 4th. There will be eight EE groups coming during 2012, continuing forty years of preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage.
The Secular Franciscans from El Paso and Las Cruces gathered at Holy Cross to celebrate Epiphany on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. About 85 people enjoyed a bountiful meal prepared by those who came, sharing of Franciscan patron saints and Scripture passages, door prizes, an Epiphany blessing for the home, and music.
The fellowship uplifted the spirits of all who were able to attend. Next year it will be in El Paso.
The OFM friars from six provinces in the U.S. shared in their annual retreat from Jan. 9-13th. Since the beginning of the retreat ministry the friars have come for a time of prayer and fraternity.
Sr. Ramona Miller from the Rochester, MN Franciscans led the retreat using the writings and spirituality of St. Clare of Assisi. With 58 friars present, it was one of the largest groups in the past few years. They will return next year to continue their annual retreat.
The men on the ACTS retreat from St. Stephen in El Paso prayed the rosary together in the early morning each day.
This is a new experience for some, and a quite special moment for others.
A women's retreat group from St. Stephen's Church in El Paso shared in an ACTS retreat Nov. 10-13, 2011.
Here they are enjoying one of the meals prepared by the Holy Cross cooking staff.
Confirmation retreat! The youth from La Purissima Parish in Socorro, TX came to Holy Cross Apr. 30-May 1 for their annual Confirmation retreat.
The catechist and Deacon William guided them through a wonderful experience of faith renewal, prayer, and enjoyment. Here you can see them building a pyramid as part of the community building and trust.
The parents and families of the youth came for the closing mass outside near the gazebo to share in the special event. They hope to return each year!
Fr. Tom Smith using a pottery wheel during a Parish retreat at St. Francis Newman Center in Silver City. The theme was "From Clay to Community" and he was able to use the images of working with clay to inspire spiritual growth as individuals, family, and as a church.
One of 45 couples who participated in the Engaged Encounter on March 5 and 6, 2011. This couple is sitting in the atrium while discussing some of what they had written for each other.
The ACTS retreats are very strong in the El Paso and Las Cruces area. Holy Cross Retreat Center hosts about eleven of the renewal weekends each year, for both men and women, and in English and Spanish.
Fr. Tom is working with them directly to get to know them better and to maintain good relations. Here is a picture of a group on Oct. 28-31, 2010 from San Patricio Cathedral Parish and Queen of Peace Church in El Paso.
They had 51 candidates, with team, music ministry, and priests totaling 91 people. Holy Cross was filled with the power of their prayer, music, and joy! Here, Fr. Trini Fuentes from Queen of Peace Parish spoke about the sacraments with the candidates, in our atrium.
Both the local English and Spanish speaking groups of Secular Franciscans, several Franciscans sisters, and other guests joined with the friars for a pleasant celebration of the "Transitus" on October 3rd.
We began outside, walked and sang with a candlelight procession to the Chapel, then continued with a bilingual reading of various Franciscan and Scriptural accounts.
Fr. Don Adamski OFM Conv. was the presider and preacher. The ceremony concluded with a blessing with a relic of St. Francis of Assisi and a reception for about 35 people. It is good to celebrate our heritage and invite others to join together.