Ards Friary 2021 Programme of Retreats

Sun 20 - 24 June

Interdiocesan Retreat

Facilitator: Fr. Philip Baxter

Steps Towards living in Gospel Light

In this five-day preached retreat we will both reflect on our human experience and read a selection of Gospel Texts. We will thus focus on some core teaching of Jesus in order to pursue our baptismal commitment of opening the eyes of our soul. Our hope is that by using these Gospel stories as a tool of spiritual transformation we will deepen our appreciation of what it means to move from being made in God’s image to becoming the likeness of God in the world.

Cost: €345

14 - 19 September

6-day guided retreat

Facilitated by Fr. Philip Baxter OFM
Seed Sunken in a field.
6-day directed retreat

“We are more than what we are aware of”. That’s the lesson of Jesus’ parable on the treasure buried in the field. However, our attention, our consciousness and our ways of thinking may not include everything we are.
This retreat affords the opportunity to each participant to be increasingly responsible for their own evolution. For this to happen, our awareness, our consciousness, our structures of perception, and our attention, have to be refocused. The work of the retreat includes the practice of silence, prayerful reflection on the Gospel story; meeting once per day with the director; and participation in a daily Eucharist. In everything participants will have the opportunity to practise the art of becoming conscious of what is already there in their life, but which is hidden, or ‘sunken in a field’ as Jesus puts it.

27 - 30 September

Silent Clergy Retreat

Facilitated by Fr. Brendan McManus SJ

8 - 10 October

Trees of Life

You are invited to the beautiful landscape of Ards, where you will spend time listening to the ocean, watching the waves crash on the beach and wandering in the forest.

Nature is a great healer

The metaphor of trees will lead us on to a gentle reflection on our own lives. We will remember what we appreciate about our roots and our childhood years. We will acknowledge the skills and wisdom we have developed though life’s adventures and challenges. We will recall some of the people who have been important to us. We will make space to think about our dreams for the future too. Our hope is to come to a deeper appreciation of many rich story lines running through the course of our lives.

On Sunday morning, in a separate workshop, we will talk together about the relationship between humanity and nature in times of climate change. Together we will explore some of the hopes we hold for the turbulent world we live in today. Finally we will listen to some of the emerging ideas for the future of Ards as a Centre for Ecology and Spirituality.

Phone or email to book or for more information: Tel: 074 91 38909 Email:

27 October - 4 November


Facilitator: Janet Deane

Details to follow

5 - 7 November

Bereavement (Part 1)

Facilitator: Fr. Philip Baxter

Companioning your grief

Experience shows that the mutual support of people who come together and share their common experience of loss is invaluable in encouraging healing. Sharing your pain with others won’t make it disappear, but it will, over time, make it more bearable. When we feel hopeless and can’t see a way forward, sensing that we are not alone provides us with much needed encouragement and comfort.
In these two weekend retreats participants will reflect on and share their experiences in a safe, non-threatening atmosphere. Even though they are not friends or family, they learn to offer each other fresh perspectives on their journey through grief, and much-appreciated affirmation.
These weekend retreats will be most valuable to people: Participants in the second weekend will have attended Programme One.

Cost: €190

12 - 14 November

Walking with the mystics

Facilitator: Fr. Richard Hendricks OFM

Details to follow

Cost: €190

3 - 5 December

Bereavement (Part 2)

Facilitator: Fr. Philip Baxter

See Bereavement Part 1 above

Cost: €190

3 - 5 December

The Gift of Jesus

Facilitator: Philip McParland.
As we prepare for Christmas, this weekend retreat will take a fresh look at Jesus and how he enriched our lives.

10 - 12 December

Advent Retreat

Facilitator:  Fr. Philip Baxter OFM

Details to follow

Cost: €190