The Way: Invitation Retreats

What is an Invitation Retreat?

Invitation retreats are a specific kind of retreat for parents, not children.

We’re asking parents to attend one of these retreats sometime early in their child’s faith formation, ideally by the time their child completes the second-grade year as part of their preparation for First Holy Communion.

These retreats are already part of our Clear Path consultation. There, we call them Conversion Greenhouses.

Invitation retreats afford an opportunity to experience a life-changing encounter with Jesus and, in response to that encounter, accept an invitation to follow the Lord as an intentional disciple.

As Catholics, we often don’t get this opportunity. There is no formal mechanism in children’s religious formation to proclaim the Gospel message, discuss what it means to live as an intentional disciple, and commit to a Christ-centered life. That is, until now.

If parents are to be their children’s primary catechists, they must have this kind of experience. The Way will depend on their witness of the Christian life. They will have the most profound influence on their kids.

Often, as we become adults and get busy with marriage, family, kid’s sports, work concerns, and the hectic pace of modern life, we can lose sight of what’s fundamental and essential in Christianity. Invitation retreats facilitate an encounter with Jesus, make us aware of the core truths of our Faith, and remind us what it means to be Catholic.

If a parent has recently experienced an invitation retreat; they won’t have to attend again. Although, everyone can benefit from refreshing their commitment to the Lord. However, many have probably never done this. In that case, we invite them to explore the fundamental questions of life and take a new look at Catholicism.

I guarantee the Catholic Faith will look a whole lot different when they engage it as an adult. If parents at your church or school haven’t thought about the faith since their Confirmation preparation, they’re in for a wonderful surprise that could, in fact, change their lives.

Characteristics of an Invitation Retreat

Effective invitation retreats include the following elements. A ministry can’t be called an invitation retreat without these five elements.

1. Highly Kerygmatic

The program presents participants with a clear proclamation of the kerygma (the core message of the Gospel). Pope Francis gives us the following example of the kerygma in The Joy of the Gospel: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you” (EG 164).

2. Conversion-Oriented

The program allows participants to discuss and grapple with the meaning of the kerygma for their own lives, inviting them to respond with a decision (or a renewed commitment) to follow Jesus as a disciple. It considers the conversion process and respects the uniqueness of each individual’s journey of faith.

3. Rooted in Scripture

The program helps participants to pray with Scripture, enabling them to hear the words of the Bible as the voice of God speaking personally to each of them.

4. Small Group Context

The program enables every participant to be known and loved in a small-group context, which leads to an authentic community in the broader church. It focuses on encounters with the Lord (love of God) and deepening relationships with others (love of neighbor).

5. Mentorship of Individuals

The program fosters the accompaniment and mentorship of individuals. Its method helps those facilitating cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process of conversion for each individual. More mature Christians guide participants to transition from passive recipients into active leaders through mentoring. Care is taken to address each participant’s particular obstacles to discipleship.

Recommended Invitation Retreats

CCO Faith Study Series


  • A series of 5 small group study booklets
  • Each booklet has material for 6-10 sessions
  • Need one leader and ideally 6-10 participants for each small group


  • Cost is $11.95 for a leader guide and $8.95 for each participant guide
  • Relatively easy to begin
  • A good resource to use in conjunction with retreats like CEC and Welcome

The Rescue Project


  • Video format with 9 episodes (vary from 30-60 min. each).
  • Spanish available.
  • Video, small group discussion / or can be run with large group discussion/Q&A and small groups.


  • No cost to view streamed videos. There is no cost for the online training modules, and leader/participant books are free in PDF format.
  • Easy to run and best if adapted to “Alpha style” meetings with meals and consistent small groups.
  • Participant guide $12.
  • Leader guide $15.

The Alpha Course


  • 11 sessions in small groups with a weekend retreat
  • Each session includes a meal, video, and small group discussion


  • Free videos with a high production value
  • It may be more comfortable for non-Catholics
  • Large support network

Welcome (Christ Renews His Parish 2.0)


  • A retreat experience over a 2-day weekend
  • Includes talks, prayer, small group discussion, and songs


  • The cost is $495 for the parish activation fee
  • Receive personal coaching and mentoring from CRHP teams at Dynamic Catholic
  • Connected to the parish and run by parishioners



  • 3 sets of 7 sessions (a total of 21 sessions)
  • Each session includes a meal, video, and small group discussion
  • The first 7 sessions include a weekend retreat


  • Costs $1,200 for the full kit (3 sets of DVDs, materials, and parish license)
  • A natural progression from an encounter with Jesus to growing discipleship to spirit-filled evangelization

Light Life Retreat (Domestic Church)


  • A retreat experience over a 3-day weekend for married couples
  • Includes talks, prayer, testimony, small group discussion, and couple discussion.


  • The cost of the retreat weekend is $275 per couple.
  • Long-term small group participation is connected to the parish and is free.
  • For married couples only.

Ananias Training (Catherine of Siena Institute)


  • 5 Sessions in small groups.
  • Includes talks, prayer, testimony, kerygma presentation, and small group discussions.
  • Spanish available.


  • Costs $249 for a full leader training Kit, $25 for additional leader guides, and $20 for participant books.
  • Strong accompaniment mod-el.
  • Relatively easy to begin, all training is done in the parish with video and print materials.

ACTS Retreats


  • A retreat experience over 3 days and 3 nights.
  • Activities focus on adoration, community building, and spiritual renewal.


  • The cost for retreat weekend is $200 per person. Based on the Retreat Center fees and expectations.
  • Requires long preparation time and team training.
  • Connected to the parish and run by parishioners.

The Search (


  • Video format with 7 episodes (approx. 30 min. each).
  • Video, small group discussion / or can be run with large group discussion/Q&A and small groups.


  • Requires Formed member-ship to view videos. There is no additional cost if the parish already subscribes.
  • Easy to run and best if adapted to “Alpha style” meetings with meal and con-sistent small groups.
  • Participant book costs $15.95.

God Is Retreats


  • A one-day retreat experience for parents of children in sac-ramental prep for First Com-munion and Confirmation.
  • Activities include talks, ado-ration, prayer, testimony, and presentation of the kerygma.


  • Costs $1,000 for fees. Plus extra cost of flights, and lodging for initial training with Evangelize All facilita-tors.
  • Also costs for hosting one-day retreat.
  • Ongoing retreats run by par-ish leaders.
  • Opportunity for ongoing small group participation.



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