Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Charis NYC retreats. Still looking for more info? Contact us at CharisRetreatNYC@gmail.com.
Who is Charis NYC?
Charis NYC is a ministry of Catholic young adults just like you from throughout the NYC region. Founded in 2011, our all-volunteer ministry is dedicated to planning unique weekend retreat experiences, rooted in Ignatian spirituality and the Jesuit tradition, for other young adults. We’re comprised of 2 working groups: a Retreat Team whom you’ll meet on your Charis NYC retreat weekend; and a Core Team, an operations and logistics group which spans multiple retreats. (To learn more about the Charis NYC Team, click here.) Charis NYC is sponsored by The Jesuit Collaborative, a non-profit that is a member of the Charis Partner Program.
I heard the retreat is based on “Ignatian Spirituality.” What does that mean?
St. Ignatius Loyola was a 16th century courtier who, after a battlefield injury, became a devoted Christian. He and his society of friends began what is now known as the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. Ignatian spirituality takes its lead from the life and writings of Ignatius. Namely, we are invited into a friendship with Jesus. We look to find the living God in all things - in the ordinary and extraordinary moments in our lives. We are called to be disciples in action - not to live our faith life in secret, and only within the walls of our churches, but in the world.
I see that Charis NYC offers multiple retreats. Do I need to attend them in order?
Not necessarily! We suggest starting with the SEEKERS retreat and advancing from there, but you can also jump into the program based on any retreat theme that moves you. The STILL+SILENT retreat is a silent reflection retreat, so just keep that in mind if you want some additional retreat experience before making a commitment to that type of format.
This is my first time attending. Do I need prior experience with retreats?
Welcome! Charis NYC retreat experiences meet you where you are, whether you’ve never attended a retreat before (or since your Confirmation!), or whether you make retreat every year.
So when you say this is a “young adult” retreat, what does that mean?
Charis NYC retreat experiences are for those who are 22-39 years old. While the terminology of “youth” and “young adults” vary around the world, our retreats are presented for all in this 22-39 age group, whose experiences can be characterized by various stages of transitions in their lives, whether professional, personal, or spiritual.
I don’t know anyone else attending this retreat. Is this a problem?
Not at all! In fact, most Charis NYC retreatants never met each other prior to retreat, and meet other young adults over the course of the weekend’s activities.
I don’t attend Mass regularly and am not affiliated with any one parish community. Can I still attend?
Certainly! Many of our retreatants, in fact, discover welcoming NYC parishes and young adult communities during a Charis NYC weekend. Others meet new friends who attend Mass and activities together.
The retreat’s Registration Fee poses financial hardship for me. What are my options?
Do not let cost stand in the way of a grace-filled retreat weekend. To us, accessibility to Charis NYC retreats, regardless of financial situation, has been a key priority from the beginning. In short, there are 2 routes we can pursue together: (1) creating a payment plan for the full amount; or (2) addressing the “gap” either by asking your pastor or parish for support, or with limited scholarship funds contributed by retreatants past and present, participating parishes and groups, and other supporters of Charis NYC. Email us at CharisRetreatNYC@gmail.com for more information.
I’m not Catholic/Christian. Can I still attend?
Our retreats are based in the Jesuit tradition and are developed with Catholic young adults in mind, especially as they relate to the sacraments, prayer disciplines, faith communities, and other elements of life in the Catholic Church. That said, we have welcomed retreatants from other Christian communities, who participated on retreat and reflected on its place in his/her own Christian traditions. If you have questions, after reading about our retreat, about a similar situation, please email us at CharisRetreatNYC@gmail.com.
I’m not from New York City. Is that a problem?
Not at all! A retreat can be a beautiful way to expand your New York City vacation experience. We have hosted retreatants from as far as Chicago and North Carolina. If you are travelling from a distance, and need assistance arranging the details of your travel, please contact the CNYC email address. We will offer you whatever guidance we can.
I’m interested in attending a retreat, but I think I might need to arrive late or leave early. Is that an issue?
We’d recommend committing to a retreat only when you can dedicate yourself to as much of the program as possible. If you need to arrive very late on Friday or leave very early on Sunday, it might be best to wait for another opportunity when your schedule is more open.
What do I need to bring to the retreat?
Based on the specific retreat and time of year, the Charis NYC team will send you information on what to bring, closer to the retreat date. All year round, clothing in layers is helpful, especially if you wish to walk our venue’s beautiful grounds. If you have a journal or Bible of your own, feel free to bring it. The retreat house provides a pillow, linens, and towels, as well as meals, snacks, and beverages. Should you choose to take a well-deserved break from your mobile phone, bring a wrist-watch. Again, we’ll provide more details closer to your retreat weekend. But most importantly, bring an open and honest heart, and a desire to grow closer to God. We’ll help take care of the rest!
On the Friday evening, I will need to arrive at the retreat house after work. By what time should I arrive?
We understand the demands of the life of young professionals. After all, we are all young professionals as well. You are welcome to arrive as early as 5 PM. We invite and encourage you to arrive to the retreat house as early as possible; it gives you the opportunity to get settled in, have some dinner, meet others, and relax a bit into retreat mode. Most people usually take the Metro-North train, leaving NYC after work between 4 PM - 6 PM. Charis NYC provides car pickups from the Croton-Harmon train station to Mariandale for a certain window until the retreat activities begin. Typically, our programming begins around 7:30 PM on Friday night, but we will share the specific details in the weeks prior to the retreat.
I don’t have a car. How accessible is the retreat venue via public transit? Is there a ride from the station to the retreat house?
Our retreat venue, the Mariandale Retreat & Conference Center, is close to the MTA Metro-North train. From Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, take the Hudson Line to the Croton-Harmon station. Charis NYC will organize rides between Croton-Harmon and the retreat house, within a certain window on Friday evening. After the retreat begins on Friday night, taxis are available at Croton-Harmon for a 5 minute ride to Mariandale. For Sunday afternoon, Charis NYC will organize carpools back to the station after the retreat ends. (For more information, or for driving directions, see “Our Retreat Venue.”)
What are the sleeping arrangements like at the retreat house?
Mariandale Retreat & Conference Center provides simple but comfortable single-occupancy rooms, so you won’t need to share space with a roommate. Each room has a twin bed, and all linens (sheets, towels, blankets pillows, etc) are provided. Most rooms have an arm chair and desk Bathrooms are communal, though the showers are private. You are encouraged to bring/wear shower shoes.
I have some dietary restrictions. What should I do to let the retreat team know in advance?
During the registration process, there will be an opportunity to advise the retreat team of your dietary needs. The chef at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center does a wonderful job of accommodating the special requests of our retreatants. When you arrive at the retreat, please just remind the folks at the registration desk that you have a special dietary need. We have successfully accommodated vegetarians, pescetarians, those with intolerances to lactose and gluten, and a myriad of food allergies.
I’ve attended a specific Charis NYC retreat before, and would like to attend the same one this year. Will it be the same exact retreat?
The themes of the retreats are consistent, but one of the beautiful things about our Charis NYC retreat experiences is that the graces from each are constantly changing. Each retreat has its own team of leaders who work hard months in advance to make the program unique, engaging, and Spirit-filled. You may even find that you come away with new insights and perspectives that you hadn’t even considered your first time around!
Are you affiliated with a specific parish in the city?
We are proud to be an interparish ministry. Our ministry leaders hail from over 13 different parishes, and our retreatants have come to us from over 35 different parishes! We hope to continue to grow those numbers with every retreat!
How is Charis NYC funded, and how can I contribute?
Charis NYC is an all-volunteer, nonprofit ministry sponsored by The Jesuit Collaborative, a 501(c)3 faith-based organization. Our retreat weekends are funded in large part by retreat registration fees, individual donations by Catholics in their 20s and 30s just like you, and by donations from NYC parishes. Because of our unique, nimble, and efficient model of presenting retreats, these funds go directly towards program services at an exceptionally high rate: food and accommodations, retreat materials, spiritual activities, etc. You can help us provide Charis NYC scholarships, by making a donation of any amount. No amount is too small, to help fellow young adults find their grace on retreat, too. Click here to donate!
How can I stay connected to Charis NYC?
One of the best benefits of attending a Charis NYC retreat, is the set of opportunities for our “alumni/ae”! All of our past retreatants are invited to Charis NYC Alumni/ae social meet-up’s, faith-sharing small groups, and other special events, including spiritual activities by our sponsor organization, The Jesuit Collaborative. Next, if you’re on social media, like Charis NYC on Facebook, and follow @charisnyc on Twitter for our latest news and helpful, ongoing resources for Ignatian spirituality. And last, a great way to stay connected is by joining our Charis NYC Team, a group of volunteers who plan every facet of the retreat experience. We welcome as applicants all who desire to serve, lead, and give back.
I had a great time on my Charis NYC experience and I’d like to help ensure that others can enjoy the program. Is there any way that I can help?
Yes! Please spread the word! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and invite your friends to do so as well. When we advertise our upcoming retreats, please share those posts far and wide. If your parish has a young adult group, please share your experience with them. You can also put us in touch with your young adult ministry; we may be able to send a Charis NYC representative to meet with your group! Next, one great way to help others enjoy Charis NYC retreats, is by joining our Charis NYC Team, a volunteer team of young adult leaders who work together planning each retreat. Last, we invite you to consider making a donation for Charis NYC scholarships. Your contribution, of any amount, helps our ministry provide financial assistance to retreatants. #FindYourGrace by helping other young adults find theirs!
My question wasn't on this list. Who can I contact for more information?
Get in touch with any additional questions by emailing CharisRetreatNYC@gmail.com.