FRENCHVILLE---“We want individuals and families, those who have been here and those who have not, to gather for a day of celebrating our Catholic faith and the hope, peace, and joy provided by the Christian Life Center.”
The words of Charles Collin, retreat coordinator for the Christian Life Center (CLC) in Frenchville, set the tone for not only a special event on Saturday, August 3, but also define a facility that has given many Catholics, non-Catholics, and non-practicing Catholics ways to enhance their faith life.
All are welcome at the CLC’s “Day of Celebration” that will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature activities for individuals and families, live music, a yard sale, food, and the opportunity to visit the center for a tour or adoration. Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m.
Located on 444 U.S. Route 1 across the street from St. Luce Church, the CLC offers a wide range of retreats, marriage preparation, and other programs designed to strengthen the faith of participants and increase their participation in parish life. This includes ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service) retreats for men, women, and teens. The CLC is supported by funds from the annual Catholic Appeal in Maine.
“You see people who are touched. They experience the Holy Spirit for the first time and say ‘what the heck was that all about?’ When you witness that, when you witness what God is doing, what Christ does, and what the things we offer there does for people, that’s exciting,” said Collin.
“When I went up there I had a spiritual awakening,” said Phil Gagnon of St. Peter Chanel Parish in Van Buren. “The closeness of the people that are there at the time, we’re all brothers and sisters, we’re all close. You meet people for the first time and you walk out of there and they’re friends forever.”
“It provides a place for people to go to become closer to their faith, renew their faith, develop their faith, and to share their faith,” said Joyce Gagnon, also of St. Peter Chanel Parish. “It’s a wonderful place, a holy place. We’ve always said that when we’re not there, when we come back, it feels like we’re coming home.”
Operating the CLC with a small staff and volunteers can at times be daunting. But observing the Holy Spirit touching the hearts of those who visit is inspiring and clearly makes the effort worthwhile.
“I’ve seen a lot people that go through there and from there they go serve in the Church, they go serve in some capacity in the Church, where they probably wouldn’t have thought of doing that after they’ve done a retreat,” said Carlos Sousa, the CLC’s chef. “That evangelization is working. It’s awakening people’s faith and they’re realizing that it’s okay to have a relationship with God.”
“It’s a place where anyone can go and anyone can feel loved and wanted and cherished for who they are,” said Peggy Sousa, the assistant chef and cleaner at the CLC. “We know that everyone who comes there is not perfect, but for the time that they’re in there, they’re made to feel perfect.”
If you are interested in learning more about the CLC and ways in which you can help its mission, call (207) 316-9591 or email Charles Collin at firstname.lastname@example.org.