Clergy Retreat 2020

Resting in the Lord:
Spiritual Solace for the Stressed Sacerdos

6th – 11th September 2020
Hartzer Park

Registration opens 1st March 2020

Invations from the ACCC Chairman and Retreat Director

My Lords, Fathers and Deacons,

In his famous treatise on the spiritual life, The Soul of the Apostolate, Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard poignantly declared: “We must never leave the God of works for the works of God!” The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is pleased to offer this retreat as an opportunity for you to come away from the work of the Lord so as to rediscover the Lord of the work. Over six restful days, we will hear encouraging conferences from Fr Joseph Carola SJ and join together for reverent and dignified prayer within the beautiful setting of Hartzer Park Retreat Center. Intimacy with the Lord is imperative for any minister of God, but especially so in the increasingly difficult times in which we live. I commend this retreat to you, confident that it will truly enable you to encounter the living God.

In Christ,

Fr Gregory Pritchard
Chairman, Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

Dear Bishops, Priests and Deacons of Australia,

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” the good Lord compassionately commands (Matt 11:28). In Jesus’ humble Heart we rest secure. It is our refuge and safe harbour amid the storm. No harm can ever come to us bathed there in His mercy. The sabbatical leisure of Christ’s Heart ensures our celibacy is lived for the sake of the Kingdom. Its contemplative repose heals the fractured reality of a world continually fragmented by sin. The Heart of Jesus is, if you will, a technology-free zone. The digital stressors that threaten our lives have no place there. Just as Jesus invited His disciples to go off to a deserted place and rest awhile from their apostolic labours, so too does He invite thinly stretched and overly-taxed priests in our own age to enter into His Heart, where His Mother Mary continually places us, and to find our rest. For it is there that He, the Good Shepherd, revives and nourishes the drooping spirits of his priests. I invite you to join me on this retreat for a week of rest and renewal in the Heart of the Lord.

In Domino,

Fr Joseph Carola SJ
Retreat Director

Retreat Information




Sunday 6th – Friday 11th September 2020
Arrive by 6.00pm


Trains run from Sydney Airport to Bowral (with 1 change) every couple of hours on a Sunday. The journey takes just over 2 hours and costs around $20. For those arriving in Bowral by train, a car pick-up service will bring you to the Retreat Centre (5 minute drive). On-site car-parking is available for those arriving in their own vehicle.


Silence can be extremely hard to foster as a priest. This retreat will provide you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in the silence that is essential for deep prayer. Silence will be observed from the conclusion of the first conference on Sunday evening until the beginning of lunch on Friday afternoon.

The Sacred Liturgy

Prayer for the Church in the Liturgy of the Hours and Holy Mass is at the heart of the priestly task. Even so, apostolic responsibilities and pressures often make it difficult for us to pray with the recollection and dignity befitting the official worship of the Church. Like the Apostles, we can find it hard to “devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). This retreat deliberately incorporates the prayerful celebration of Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours to enable you to renew your love for the Church’s worship. A live-in organist will support the simple singing of Mass and the Office.

Retreat Director | Fr Joseph Carola SJ

Fr Joseph Carola SJ was born in Houston, Texas, in 1962. After entering the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus in 1980 he was ordained a priest in 1993. In 2001 he obtained his doctorate in theology and patristic sciences from the Patristic Institute Augustinianum in Rome and has been a professor of patristic theology at the Gregorian University since 2002. He is a skilled retreat master, having directed retreats for many Roman and American seminarians and clergy. In the Year for Priests he published a volume of meditations on priestly life and ministry, Conformed to Christ Crucified (Gregorian & Biblical Press), to which he has since added two further volumes. Fr Carola’s “A Patristic Pastoral Trilogy: Striving after holiness for the sake of our service,” which features in his third volume of meditations, was presented at the ACCC’s 2010 International Conference in Rome.

Retreat Venue | Hartzer Park

Hartzer Park is situated in the picturesque New South Wales southern highlands and offers the perfect setting for a prayerful retreat. Originally built by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1963, it features a beautiful chapel, comfortable single rooms and expansive grounds.

  • 52 single rooms available
  • Communal bathroom/shower facilities
  • Full catering from Sunday dinner to Friday lunch
  • Byzantine Romanesque chapel
  • Expansive and picturesque grounds in rural setting

Proposed Horarium

4.00pm – 6.00pm Registration
6.00pm Vespers
6.30pm Dinner
8.00pm Opening Conference
9.00pm Compline (silence begins)
6.00am – 8.00am Masses sine populo
7.30am – 8.30am Breakfast available
9.00am Lauds
9.30am Concelebrated Mass
10.30am Morning Tea
11.00am Conference
Midday Angelus & Rosary
12.30pm Lunch
Free time for spiritual direction, prayer, exercise, rest or private Masses.
4.30pm Afternoon Tea
5.00pm Conference
6.00pm Angelus & Vespers
6.30pm Dinner
8.00pm Holy Hour
9.00pm Compline
6.00am – 8.00am Masses sine populo
7.30am – 8.30am Breakfast available
9.00am Lauds
9.30am Concelebrated Mass
10.30am Morning Tea
11.00am Closing Conference
Midday Pack-Up
12.30pm Lunch (silence concludes)
1.30pm Departure

Registration opens 1st March 2020