What is an ACTS Retreat?

An ACTS retreat is a three day and three night Catholic lay retreat presented by fellow parishioners. The retreat begins on Thursday evening and ends the following Sunday at a Mass celebrated with the parish community. Retreats for men, women and teens are given separately. The focus of the retreat is Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service, from which the ACTS acronym is derived. Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are the guides for the retreats.

What is the purpose of an ACTS retreat?

An ACTS weekend is designed to help the retreatants enter into a new or deeper relationship with our Lord and fellow parishioners. This is accomplished through Adoration and daily prayer, the call to Community in one’s parish as a member of the Body of Christ, and Theology in encouraging the study of scripture and our Catholic Faith. All of which emphasize and encourage the virtue of Service to our Lord, our parish, and one another.

What is the goal of an ACTS retreat?

A parish ACTS retreat strives to achieve the directives of Vatican II and goals of the Revised Code of Canon Law of 1983 which emphasize “community and pastoral care” within a parish. The weekend allows the retreatants to experience God’s love and joy. They return to their parish with a deeper love for each other and a desire to become more involved in their parish community.

The retreat emphasizes our call to service to the parish community and to our world community. There results a new or renewed dedication to the life of the parish community and a new recognition of the needs of those around us and of our obligation, as followers of Christ, to help meet those needs.

I’ve heard that part of the retreat is “a secret.”  Why?

No part of an ACTS retreat is a secret. The highlight of the retreat does involve a “surprise” for the participants. It wouldn’t be a surprise for the next group, if everyone revealed the surprise.

Who can attend an ACTS Retreat?

ACTS retreats are open to all people of all faiths. Retreats for men, women and teens are given separately.

How do I sign up to attend an ACTS Retreat?

There are four parishes in the diocese that offer ACTS retreats. -- Cenla ACTS in Alexandria, Sacred Heart ACTS in Pineville, St. Joseph ACTS in Marksville, and St, Mary’s ACTS of Avoyelles in Cottonport. 

Find the retreat you want to attend. The upcoming retreats are listed on this page, but can also be found on each of the websites listed, or on the diocesan website at www.diocesealex.org/ACTS retreats.

Follow the information on each of the website to register, or call the number provided to obtain a registration form.

How much does it cost?

The total cost of an ACTS retreat is $175, which includes meals, lodging, and materials.  Financial assistance is available.

Who leads an ACTS retreat?

ACTS is a lay-led, parish-based apostolate.  A retreat director is prayerfully selected from the laity by ACTS Missions HQ or an ACTS Missions chapter during the missioning process.  Once the missioning process is complete, then the Parish Core, along with their pastor, is responsible for prayerfully discerning over a qualified director. 

Once a retreat director has been selected, he or she will select a retreat team (typically comprised of 20-25 people to serve ) who go through a formation process to organize and spiritually prepare the retreat for their parish.

How do I start an ACTS group (apostolate) at my parish?

The diocese of Alexandria has an ACTS Missions chapter.  If you would like to bring this apostolate to your parish, please contact: (actschapteralexandria@gmail.com).

What is an ACTS Mission Chapter?

The ACTS Mission Chapter is a support branch of ACTS Missions dedicated to the missioning process of Catholic communities seeking to bring the ACTS retreat to their parish. The members of the Missions Chapter represent the various areas of the Diocese.

The Missions Chapter also was created to facilitate the missioning process for parishes interested in having ACTS in their parish communities and to ensure fidelity to the integrity and spirit of the retreat. In addition to working with and supporting parish priests and members in the development of ACTS ministries, the Missions Chapter also elects directors to lead retreats for parishes in the missioning process. Typically, the Missions Chapter will work with a new parish over a 2-3 year period to prepare the parish to establish its own Core group.

The Missions Chapter also helps the ACTS community by providing quarterly director workshops, maintaining a diocesan website for disseminating information, conducting Core installation ceremonies, offering support to newly established communities, offering specific training & guidance as requested, and acting as a liaison between the diocese and the ministry.

How did ACTS get started?

The ACTS movement started in 1987 in San Antonio, Texas. Four men who were formerly involved with Cursillio, met to discuss starting a retreat program that would concentrate more on parish life and community. The proposed retreat program was approved by their pastor and then the archbishop to develop a retreat weekend with a goal of having a men’s retreat in July 1987 and a women’s retreat in the fall of 1987. Archbishop Flores asked that the committee be sure to allow non-Catholics to attend as part of the community.

Committee members began developing talks, meditations and schedules for the weekends. One of the committee members, had a dream one night in which the Holy Spirit encouraged him to read Chapter 2, verses 42-47 of the Acts of the Apostles. This selection from Acts describes what the committee wanted to achieve on a retreat weekend. He also felt the Holy Spirit wanted the retreats to be called ‘ACTS,’ and thus the name was born. The acronym of ACTS came to mean Adoration, Community, Theology and Service, the precept of these retreats.