Recent Events

Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6, 2018

Contemplative Spring Retreat

Retreat Presenter, Martin Laird, O.S.A.
Father Martin Laird is Professor of Early Christian Studies at Villanova University. Fr. Laird’s published works include Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence. This retreat offers time and space away from the busyness of daily life and allows the body, mind, and spirit to surrender to God’s presence and action within each one of us.

Location and Directions
Villa Maria Eduction and Spirituality Center
225 Villa Marie Road
Pulaski, PA 16143
[link to Villa Maria website]

March 10, 2018

United in Prayer Day

Location and Directions
Laurel Lake Retirement Community
200 Laurel Lake Drive
Hudson, OH 44236
[link to church website]

Registration/Check-in: 8:30 a.m.
Event: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

January 21, 2017

Silent Day of Prayer

Saturday, January, 21 2017
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

St. Basil the Great Catholic Church
8700 Brecksville Road
Brecksville, OH 44141
(At the Parish Life Center behind the church.)

March 11, 2017

Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop

Saturday, March 11, 2017 
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Federated Church
76 Bell Street
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

March 18, 2017

United in Prayer Day

Saturday, March 18, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Laurel Lake Retirement Community
200 Laurel Lake Drive
Hudson, OH, 44236

Click here for more information about United in Prayer Day.

April 6, 2017

Webinar Trinity: the Soul of Creation

Thursday through Saturday, April 6 – 8, 2017 
St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church, Brecksville, Ohio

A live broadcast of the conference Trinity: the Soul of Creation, being presented by Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault and William Paul Young in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Click here for more information about the topic of the conference.

June 10, 2017

Silent Saturday

Saturday, June 10, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
2747 Fairmount Boulevard
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Several sessions of sitting Centering Prayer, readings and quiet reflection.

August 11 – 13, 2017

St. Theresa of Avila and the Interior Castle

Friday through Sunday, August 11 – 13, 2017

River’s Edge
3430 Rocky River Drive
Cleveland, Ohio
[link to website]

A special Retreat / Conference weekend presented by Susan Komis, allowing sacred space and time to explore the Seven Mansions of Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. Together we reflected on the light of Teresa’s timeless insights into the human soul, its journey towards God, and how Teresa’s teaching is relevant to our personal contemporary spiritual journey. This retreat/conference included presentations, small group discussion with periods of Centering Prayer, reflection and silence. Suggested reading for this special event was “The Interior Castle,” from the Collected Works of Teresa, Vol. II, translation by Kavanaugh & Rodriguez.

September 30, 2017

Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop

Location and Directions

Holy Martyrs Catholic Church
3100 Old Weymouth Road
Medina, Ohio 44256
[link to church website]

Date and Time

Saturday, September 30, 2017 
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
(Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., the Workshop begins at 9:30 a.m.)

Follow-up sessions October 7 and October 14.

Contact Information

To RSVP or for more information, contact Kate Valentine at email or by phone at (330) 659-6356.

October 7, 2017

Silent Saturday

Location and Directions

St. Christopher’s Parish
20141 Detroit Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116
[link to church website]

Date and Time
Saturday, October 7, 2017
8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
(Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., Centering Prayer beings at 9:00 a.m.)

Contact Information

To RSVP or for more information, contact Darlene Sasz at email or by phone at (440) 331-0903.

December 7, 14 and 21, 2017

Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop

Location and Directions

Church of St. Dominic
3450 Norwood Road
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
[link to church website]

Date and Time

Thursday, December 7, 14 and 21, 2017 
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
(Please plan to arrive early so the workshop can begin promptly at 7 o’clock.)

Contact Information

To RSVP or for more information, contact the parish office at St. Dominic via email or by phone at (216) 991-1444.

Leadership Meeting November 12, 2016


November 12, 2016

Team Meeting

St. Mathew’s Episcopal Church, Brecksville, OH


Mike Davault                                    Jackie Fabian                                    Chris Grostic, Coordinator                  Marilyn Mack         Nancy Moran                   Suzanne Sweeney                  Juanita Vargo


Chris Grostic, Coordinator, opened the meeting @ 9:35 a.m. after prayer.

Silent Saturday Retreat Report:

Jackie Fabian reported that 25 people attended the retreat on October 29th @ St. Rita Parish, Solon, OH.

Participant feedback was very positive. The team consensus was that it was one of the best retreat days that has occurred.

Jackie stated that Josefina Fernandez had reported to her that St. Basil in Brecksville would be interested in doing the next Silent Saturday in January.

Theological Principles:

Chris Grostic believed that it was time to release again the Theological Principles of CONEO. It lists  the limitations set by the International Contemplative Outreach on our ministry We must also be aware of our own limitations: the number of team members available to do any expansion. We are already limited by the shortage of volunteers available to do retreats, etc.

Every CONEO group has its own personality based on their leadership and they are at liberty to include in their meetings anything that will enrich the group to fill the goals of contemplative prayer.

Appreciation Luncheon & Awards

The Appreciation Luncheon on November 6th was very successful due to the careful planning of Josefina Fernandez and the support of Chris and Steve Gotch. Thank you notes will be sent to Chris and Steve for the use of their facilities and the fine food selection.

Communication to Prayer Groups:

Mike Devault will be going on vacation until February. Before he leaves he will send out one more e-mail communication to the prayer groups. Suzanne Sweeney volunteered to take over his library duties until he returns, including keeping track of the sales. He has developed a list of 10 books to be recommended to new prayer group members.

Mike intends to visit the Epiphany Episcopal Church, Euclid before he leaves. They have a large ecumenical gathering each year. Mike has already visited the prayer groups at: St. Rita, St. Mary of the Assumption and St. Paul in Canton.


Chris Grostic advised that Brian Smith, our Communications Coordinator, reported that we had e-mail issues in our last mailing. We are transitioning to a new system and some addresses did not transfer over. There are 600 on our list, but 180 were listed as unsubscribed and some team members did not receive the communications. We will work on this to clear up the problems before the next meeting.

Mike Devault advised he is sending a final prayer group and team member listing. Members should check their own e-mail addresses to make sure they are correct.


Chris Grostic requested that prayer group leaders should make sure their members know who the new team leaders are and their responsibilities.

Chris stated that CONEO meetings should be attended by Team Leaders. Any prayer group member that wishes to attend a Team Meeting; e.g. December 10, is welcome to attend.


Nancy Moran stated that requiring a member to do both a workshop and the follow-up meetings is too stressful, as the preparation time, travel time and teaching responsibilities are very intense. She suggested that the retreat leader be relieved of the follow-up responsibilities. The team agreed.


Chris Grostic stated that the Federated Family Life Center in Chagrin Falls wanted us to do an Intro Workshop in the first quarter of 2017. Federated wants to increase their membership to either start a new group or use as a filler to already established groups. We need a presenter and a Book Table representative.

Any other prayer group that wants an Introductory Workshop should call Chris Grostic.


Nancy Moran reported that Villa Maria is inviting James Finley June 23-25, 2017. She suggested that we cooperate with Villa Maria by offering to lead prayer after the lectures, ask if we can put out our advertising on their hospitality table or getting a block of rooms that our prayer groups can have access to, if they want to attend. Chris Grostic suggested that this be discussed in January after our own Introductory Workshop is completed.

Nancy Moran, also, stated that the Erie, PA Contemplative Outreach is planning to bring in Fr. Menninger. No date has been scheduled.



Chris Grostic reported that the International Office is having their retreat, September 21, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Many of their staff are retiring and they need to select new staff and reset their future goals. Any member can attend. For further information go on their website.


Marilyn Mack will be taking an annual vacation visiting her children in Texas and California for the holidays. Meetings that occur while she is gone will have to have notes taken by someone else.

NEXT MEETING:   December 10, 2016 at St. Matthews.

Respectfully submitted,


Marilyn Louise Mack, Secretary.



Kay Powers:

One correction is that the International program Sept 21 to 24 that you mentioned is a conference not a retreat.  We had annual conferences up until two years ago.   The new individuals are already on board and running CO.  What we will be doing is learning more of the direction CO is going and a time for input of what we would like CO to include in their new look.


You might want to go to the Contemplative Outreach website, get your name on their email list  and learn more about CO in general.  I would be happy to discuss CO’s history. with you.  Let me know if you would like to set up a phone meeting.


Peace be with you,



From Nancy Moran

An addendum to the minutes – this is not a correction because we didn’t discuss it in the meeting but I want to take this opportunity to make a comment regarding workshop stress in the minutes.  As we already know all the opportunities the Holy Spirit gives us to share centering prayer are meaningful and enriching for both for the transmitter and the receiver.  This is very true of the Introduction to Centering Prayer Workshops.  We also know the gifts of the Holy Spirit are peace and rest – I/we experience stress only when we make it so.  In reality, presenting at workshops is a grace that strengthens our love for and commitment to centering prayer. I wanted to write this because I want to encourage people who have the impetus to do the presenter formation to know what a good and grace filled experience it is.

I also want to clarify that if the presenters want to facilitate the follow up sessions this may certainly be an option.

CONEO Retreat Villa Maria Photos by Gina_ GDP Photography

Hi Everyone!

Here is the link to the photos I took on our retreat. I grew up in the deep woods and this retreat ended up being a profound healing/unloading of some of my childish decisions about life that I carried forward. Being able to be in the woods, the pool and with all of your loving presences were such a blessing to me last week. I have been so uplifted and continue to bask in the experience. I am so very grateful.

I took small hikes every day. Seeing through the lens of my camera, took me into the mystical in so many ways. I invite you to re-experience some of the wonders of Villa Maria with me, through this photo journey.

Finally, you will see that I put some text onto some pictures. At the very end, are a few that I made for specific friends but included in a sense of playfullness. Please, take no offence and view them in the spirit they were created. 🙂

A few things about this website:

  • Keep this email if you want to revisit the photos as it is your only link. This is a private gallery and cannot be accessed from the home page of my website.
  • You are welcome to download any images for your personal use. I exhibit at a local gift shop and may print some images for that purpose, so, (not that you would . . .), please no commercial use. Except, for the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. If any images are of use to you, please do use them, as my gift. Contact me for a statement giving you full rights if you can use some.
  • To view – click on one of the links (in red) embedded in this message. double click on a thumbnail image . . . click one more time on the image that becomes enlarged and you will have a full screen view. Use either the dots on the right side of the image or the arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the photos.

CONEO Reatreat Villa Maria, PA September 2016,

Peace, Love, Justice and all Good Things to you,


GDG Photography

PS Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

CONEO Reatreat Villa Maria, PA September 2016

To save photos to your phone, download the free Photo Moments app for iOS or Android then click here to view the gallery.

View CONEO Reatreat Villa Maria, PA September 2016 on the Photo Moments app:


Transition Kickoff for CONEO Leadership Team

Transition Kickoff for CONEO Leadership Team

July 26, 2016     


 CONEO Leadership In Transition Process

Saturday Day of Prayer
at  St. Rita Catholic Church in Solon

 Saturday August 6 from 9am to 12 pm. We will have 2 double sits of Centering Prayer, have a time for a Lectio Divina and listen a short reading from Fr. Thomas Keating.

If you are in need for a quiet space for  praying with a  contemplative community, please RSVP to Jackie Fabian, who is the leader of this group. Her e-mail address:



Last Saturday July 23, a group of 25 people from our community of Centering Prayer practitioners met to acknowledge the long term grounding roots and the evolution of our Chapter and the beginning of the transition process of our leadership team. My three year commitment as Coordinator is rapidly approaching, and my hope is to provide a smooth transition  for continuation of the vision of Contemplative Outreach: "to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice of Centering Prayer".

I have the pleasure of announcing that Chris Grostic will be our next Coordinator begining on November 15 and I will be helping Chris build  strong service teams that will continue our service to the community of Northeast Ohio.

In addition to the discerning process of CONEO's leader, we were able to start building our future service teams. These will be small groups of people working together as a team to serve an assessed need.

In few days, I will contact all the Centering Prayers Facilitators of our community so each member of their group is well informed and be able to ponder in their heart a possible call for service in some way with the necessities of the functioning of our Chapter.

One additional note: I would like to remind you of the wonderful opportunity of praying in community and to experience a loving presence during our Saturday Day of Prayer at  St. Rita Catholic Church in Solon. The address is : 32820 Baldwing Rd, Solon OH 44139. The date is  August 6, from 9am to 12 pm. Parking is next to the church and please enter on the side to St. Mark Chapel.RSVP to Jackie Fabian

My blessings to all you, and thank you for all your support.

Josefina Fernandez
CONEO Coordinator

Contemplative Outreach Northeast Ohio – CONEO –


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Foundation Of Contemplative Living: Audio Sessions

Exploring foundations of Contemplative Living
A Retreat with James Finley 

April 29-30 and May 1, 2016
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Contemplative Outreach Northeast Ohio (CONEO) had the privilege to work with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio for the retreat Exploring the Foundations of Contemplative Living led by Dr. James Finley on April, 29, 30 and May 1, 2016. Chuck Herbruck, from the Centering Prayer group at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, made this event possible through over a year of behind-the-scenes work. Over 350 people attended.

In keeping with Dr. Finley’s wishes, the audio files were made available to upload on the CONEO website. Click on the blue link at the beginning of each numbered item, below, to play an MP3 audio file.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Path to Inner Peace: Freeing the Mind and Heart through Spiritual SobrietyIntroductions and thanks by the Rev. Richard Israel, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

  1. TRACK033 — Introduction by the Rev. Richard Israel, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
  2. TRACK034 — Dr. Finley speaks on how the 12 steps can help all of us to be set free from habits of the mind and heart that perpetuate suffering.
  3. TRACK035 — Questions and Answers.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thomas Merton and Teresa of Avila.

  1. TRACK036 — Introduction by the Rev. Richard Israel, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
  2. TRACK037 — Dr. James Finley on Thomas Merton, Part I
  3. TRACK038 — Questions and Answers, Part 1
  4. TRACK039 — Reconvene after break, a note from Sarah Widener, River’s Edge
  5. TRACK040 — Dr. James Finley on Thomas Merton, Part 2
  6. TRACK041 — Dr. James Finley calls for questions (laughing!)
  7. TRACK042 — Questions and Answers Part 2.
  8. TRACK043 — A note from Cleveland Ecumenical Institute for Religious Studies
  9. TRACK044 — Dr. Finley on Teresa of Avila, Part 1
  10. TRACK045 — Questions and Answers, Part 1
  11. TRACK046 — Reconvene after break, a note from Josefina Fernandez, CONEO
  12. TRACK047 — Dr. Finley on Teresa of Avila, Part 2

May 1, 2016 Sunday

  1. 05 01 16 JF — Dr. Finley’s Homily at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church


Visioning Day Invitation



Questions and Answers

Contemplative Outreach Northeast Ohio

Q: What is a Visioning Day?  Why should I attend and what does servant leadership discernment mean?

A:  The following may be helpful for you  ….

Q:  What will we do at a Visioning Day?

A:  We will gather together to explore future options available to our Chapter, meeting in large and small groups.  We will have two Centering Prayer periods, and visit with one another over lunch!

Q:  Why should I attend?

A:  Our contemplative community is important..  Those who practice Centering Prayer know the value of being committed to a group that supports one another in practice and presence.  Understanding more about the Chapter in function and structure is valuable to the individual in the context of the community.  In the broader spectrum, in our relationship to Contemplative Outreach and the value of the teachings of Fr. Thomas Keating.  A Visioning Day gives a person the “big picture” and invites everyone to give input regarding the future direction of the Chapter.

We want to keep the door open to those who are being called to contemplative prayer and embrace a contemplative life.

Q:  What is Servant Leadership?

A:  One of the ways we put contemplation into action is through service to others in the Centering Prayer community.  The desire for service arises naturally out of one’s contemplative practice.  Servant Leadership allows people to embrace loving service to others and openness to the will of God.

Q:  What will be discerned?

A:  Our wonderful Coordinator is stepping down from that role in the near future.  We will ask participants to gather in a circle, share a period of Centering Prayer, and allow the Spirit to raise up a person who may be willing to follow in the footsteps of our current Coordinator.

There are other opportunities in the chapter for service such as enrichment, hospitality, communication, events, retreats, etc.  No pressure is put on anyone to serve in any way.  You may not be called to serve at this time, but your support and presence are greatly needed.  As the Centering Prayer groups support individual prayer practice, so does group discernment support the callings of individuals.

Susan Komis from Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. will facilitate the day for us and assist our understanding of ways/means that will strengthen our contemplative community.  We encourage you to plan to stay for the entire day.

CONEO Visioning Day
Saturday, July 23, 2016
9:00 am – 3:30 pmSt. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
9549 Highland Dr, Brecksville, OH 44141

Our Visioning Day will include:
Coffee and refreshments
Two periods of Centering Prayer
Large group and small group process

Free Will Offering

RSVP to Josefina Fernandez

and EVITE invitation

September 16-22

Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat and Post Intensive Retreat  

CONEO_CP Intensive and Post Intensive registration flyer

Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center

2067 Evergreen St., Villa Maria, PA 16155

Trinity Homily. Fr. W. Meninger at St. Andrews Episcopal Church 2014

Fr. William Meninger


Fr. William delivered this homily  on Trinity Sunday, June 15, 2014 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church , Seattle. When he set  his notes down and began to preach, I knew I was a part of a Holy Spirit inspired moment.

The audio below is about 30 minutes in length.  Give a listen. In the seven or eight years of my close association and travels with Fr. William, I believe it to be one of his three finest teachings. (The other two in my estimation is his teaching on Julian of Norwich and the New Creation Mythology. The other is the Loving Search for God and the Spiritual Journey using the 12th-century Buddhist ox herding pictures as a paradigm for the spiritual journey developed from a paper he delivered at the annual Academy of Religion in San Diego , November 2014.)

If someone is able to transcribe the sermon , will you please let me know and email it to me in PDF. I would like to make it a part of Fr. William’s archival history. Thank you in advance.



Dan Dobbins

Fr. William Meninger