CEW (Christian Experience Weekend) is a retreat for Christian adults (18 & over). Men’s and Women’s weekends are held separately. It is time away from the busy-ness of daily life to encounter the Holy Spirit in a unique way. Participants spend time together renewing their Christian faith. A team of lay and religious people conduct the CEW weekend.
Then this is a retreat you won’t want to miss! Take time away from the busy-ness of daily life to experience the fullness of life and joy which Jesus came to bring us. It will change your life!!
The weekend starts at 7 PM on Friday night and ends at 4 PM on Sunday afternoon.
Please contact one of us if you have any questions.
Julie Viet (507-398-7401 or email@example.com)
Jessica Bell (507-288-4246 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Terry Painter (507-287-0668 or email@example.com).
TESTIMONIALS by Chris and Terry Painter (Pax Christi parishioners for over 25 years)
How do you experience your faith in your everyday life? Sometimes it can be hard to find time to even think about that question. The CEW weekend is an incredible opportunity for you to get away from all the hassles and stresses of everyday life and explore your relationship with Christ
We all lead such busy lives today, with families to raise, bills to pay, and many work and volunteer commitments. But that is all the more reason why you owe it to yourself to take a weekend away from it all. When was the last time you went 48 hours without being interrupted by someone or something that needed your attention? Well, I experienced that for the first time when I attended my first CEW weekend, and it really was an amazing experience for me….
I had been so stressed out before the weekend, worried about everything that I needed to do, and so afraid that I was forgetting something important. But I came back with a complete sense of peace, having finally grasped the concept that with God in my life, I would be able to handle anything that life presented to me, and that all the little stresses of my life, really weren’t all that important after all. Since then I have grown so much in my faith and in my friendships, and I really think that choosing to attend the CEW retreat was one of the best things I have ever done.
Because CEW was such a good experience for Chris, she encouraged me to attend with the men the following weekend. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I was really all that interested. But, after some careful consideration and a little more gentle encouragement from Chris and a couple others who had participated in the women’s weekend, I decided to go and see for myself. The weekend turned out to be a great experience for me as well.
To illustrate this, I just have to share with you one quick story. I am a manager at IBM, and I manage a group of people that are spread out all over the country, so even though I don’t get to see some of them very often, we keep in touch via phone and e-mail. Well one of my employees who lives in North Carolina happened to call me the Monday after I attended my CEW weekend. Not 2 minutes into our call, he stopped me and said, “Wait a minute… What happened to you?” I asked him what he meant, and he said, “For weeks, it has seemed like you were carrying the weight of the world around on your shoulders, and now all of a sudden, you seem like you have been set free. Tell me, what happened to you over the weekend?”
The point is this: I didn’t think that I needed a CEW weekend… and you might not think that you need one either…. But is has made a lot of difference for me, and it could for you too! There are many things that I discovered, but a few things in particular stand out. First, I realized that I do have a desire to experience and actively explore my faith, a desire that had been buried or slowing fading for some time. Second, I learned that Jesus is present in all of us, and that we have an opportunity every day (actually, many times a day) to “be Jesus” for someone else and vice versa. Which brings us back to the question that Chris asked earlier… How do you live your faith in your everyday life?
Give yourself the gift of a weekend away from your busy schedule to explore and renew your faith. Chris and I have now attended multiple CEW retreats and continue to be enriched by the CEW experience. We hope you will consider this wonderful retreat opportunity as well.
Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God. In trying to explain the meaning of that Kingdom, Jesus used many comparisons. Matthew chapter 13: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like . . .” (a farmer sowing good seed, a tiny mustard seed, a woman making bread, a treasure discovered in a field, a pearl merchant, a fisherman). All of these “likes” were common experiences of His audience. He realized that the Kingdom had to be an “experience” in order to be real for the person. In Acts of the Apostles 1:13-14, 2:1-2, and 2:42 we read about the followers of Jesus and the birth of the Church through Pentecost. After this event, “they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” It is only after they had an experience, that the disciples sought meaning, fellowship, and ritualistic connection to the memory of Jesus, to God. CEW offers participants an opportunity to experience Christian Life in a warm and welcoming community.
Christian Experience Weekends began as an adaptation of Cursillo retreats. Cursillo was conceived in 1939 on the Island of Mallorca as a pilgrimage for the young men and women to dedicate themselves to apostolate. The word Cursillo translates to “short course” in Spanish. Cursillo Weekends came to the United States in 1957 and the movement quickly spread throughout the country and the world.
In 1972, the Cursillo Movement of the Dubuque diocese initiated a two year moratorium to study and re-define the true nature and purpose of the weekend. Through reflection and prayer, Fr. George Karnik, Sr. Carole Freking, OSF and Fr. Joseph O’Brien “felt the Spirit calling” and created a new spiritual renewal program with a format suitable to the average adult Christian’s needs and time constraints.
The first CEW weekends were held in 1974 and since then the CEW community has grown across the nation. In 1999, CEW celebrated its 25th anniversary, with thousands of people from many different Christian denominations having encountered the Holy Spirit in a unique way.
The Rochester area was blessed in the fall of 2005, when members of Pax Christi Church, with help from the well-established Waukon, Iowa CEW group, organized the first CEW retreat at the beautiful Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch. Nestled in a quiet forest in SE Minnesota and gathering in log cabin buildings and the gorgeous chapel, participants spent time together renewing their Christian faith and experiencing the presence of Jesus. Since then, Pax Christi Church has hosted at least one retreat every year, and the CEW community continues to grow and be enriched by each experience.