October 1, 2012 at Mary Immaculate Auditorium #1


Carmen Pernudi, Ricky Jones, Danny Lopez, Laurie Serrano, Susan Castillo, Rosie Cárdenas, Larry Ruiz, Sal Barrios, Tom Elsey, Azucena Bonillas, Eugene Torres, Deacon Ken Elsey

Rosemary Moreno, Andrew Guerrero, Sandy Klevinskas, Fr. Porfirio Garcia, OMI


Opening Prayer
Brief moment of silence followed by a prayer led by Laurie Serrano.

Prayer Exercise
Deacon Ken explained that today was the feast of St. Thérese of Lisieux and he shared a little about the story of her life and some of her writing. He then asked the Core to answer this question: How do you see the Core as being love?

Review of Last Month’s Minutes
Rosie motioned that we accept last month’s minutes as-is and Danny seconded that motion.

Citizen to Be Heard

Carmen read from the Core manual regarding the “Citizen to Be Heard” portion of the meeting and that we are going to be using a sign-in sheet moving forward. Each person will be permitted 3-5 minutes to address the Core with questions, concerns, or suggestions.

The following issues were brought to the attention of the Core:

  • Lillian Elsey: She expressed her concern that the follow-up for the retreat should consist of not only scripture reading, but also a list of other reading materials like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Coming Down the Mountain, lives of the saints, spiritual reading, etc. She recommended Collegeville Press and Paulist Press. She stated that prayer and instruction of the faith is essential for us as Catholics and presented Susan with a pamphlet titled “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery” by Jane E. Regan.
  • José Cárdenas: He reiterated his concern as a co-director on the last men’s retreat that we limit ourselves to two retreats per year. He thinks that retreatants are getting lost after they come off of retreats because there is no time or place for them to be engaged in their faith and connected with their community outside of the retreats. By limiting the amount of retreats we would have more time between retreats to focus on follow-up both spiritual enrichment and community service. He also shared that the cook team at St. Joseph Salesian is very overworked and voiced his opinion that he doesn’t think the situation is sustainable as such. He added to Lillian’s comments and suggested Fr. James Martin, SJ as an author.
  • Steve Elsey: He explained that he has heard a lot of dialogue going back and forth about the retreat centers and the amount of retreats per year. He stated that we need to refocus on the mission of ACTS and asked that we consider our purpose of bringing men and women to service in the Church. He expressed his opinion that our goal should be to expand this mission and not to retract it. He also stated that the topic of the retreat centers doesn’t need to be either winners or losers, but rather we can meet in the middle and work together.

On Holding Retreats Once Per Year

Carmen explained that the De Paul Center doesn’t want to lose us and that they have offered to reduce the fee by $35 per person for the same services that they have been providing for the past three years. She mentioned that the reason this discussion came about is that she was talking to the office manager at the center and although Carmen thought the retreats in 2013 had been cancelled by the previous facilitator, that was not the case.

Sal passed out a list of the costs between the two retreat centers so that the Core can see the differences. Including food and transportation the women’s retreat in April at De Paul averaged at $187/person, but would go down to $152/person with the new discount. The men’s retreat in June at St. Joseph Salesian averaged $114/person. Based on this he made an estimate of what the women would face at St. Joseph Salesian of $121/person. He wanted to make sure that we all had a good idea of what the costs were at the respective centers.

Laurie asked if we could keep the women’s retreats at De Paul and the men’s at St. Joseph Salesian. Tom added that he didn’t think that was a problem as long as the women were paying the higher price and not putting it on the men. Susan explained that she doesn’t see it as men and women, but as a household when it comes to her and her husband being on each retreat.

Larry expressed his concern for cutting back on retreats because we might lose more volunteers. Carmen added that at St. Joseph Salesian we require even more volunteers due to the fact that we have to have a cook team. She thinks it is worth it to stay at De Paul so that we don’t have to focus on these extra duties (ie. Clean up, shopping, cooking, etc.). If we had a big enough pool of volunteers to cover this then maybe it wouldn’t be a concern, but currently we don’t. Her idea is that instead of limiting retreat we do a better job of follow-up after retreats with small faith communities and community events. Also the same people are not supposed to be on team each time, but rather allow new retreatants to participate on team. Serving the community is important and even if people aren’t coming back to be on team, we need to have two community events per year for the entire ACTS community which are open to the community.

Deacon Ken explained that he sees a lot of people at his parish (Santa Rosa) who just can’t afford to be on team every time and that cutting back on retreats will be devastating to the mission of ACTS in our St. Ferdinand community. He thinks it would be a mistake to cut back on retreats and to keep the cost from going down. Tom shared that when they first started working on the retreats in Rancho Cucamonga they saw that they had trouble getting more than 24 retreatants since they only had one retreat per year. Sal said that we have to consider that we are a St. Ferdinand community and that with that amount of people available we should keep it to four per year. As long as we are getting full attendance we should leave it as it is. He thinks that we could keep it at De Paul and pay $150 or $160.

Rosie explained that the mission of ACTS is not just retreats, but also follow-up and community events are a part of the mission. And that to focus only retreats is like riding a bike with a flat tire. She would like to be able to focus more of her time on the follow-up and community aspect of ACTS, but feels that she hasn’t had much support in her fundraisers and events. She explained that we also need to be spending time with each other and that’s why the social events are so important. We are getting people fired up about their faith and then leaving them to fend for themselves. That is not healthy. She thinks that the problem establishing the small faith communities has kept us from achieving our goals. Azucena explained that her and her husband are involved in Marriage Encounter and that they do a lot to maintain the follow-up and community aspect afterwards.

Tom added that in San Antonio there is such a great following for ACTS because they keep to the four retreat rule. Joseph added that it is actually two retreats per year (one mens and one womens) and that there are multi-parish retreats as well that only do one retreat per year (per gender). Deacon explained that at Santa Rosa many of the people who are not involved on team with ACTS are involved in other parish ministries like choirs and ushers. He also added that we have to do as Jesus told us and spread the seed. He thinks evangelization is the primary goal, but that he didn’t think that reducing the amount of retreats would be a good idea. Susan added that the majority of the women on the first retreats were already involved in ministries before going on retreat. She thinks that the retreat situation is like baptism. We can’t just baptize a baby and then never see those people again until their first communion, but rather nourish them spiritually on a continuous basis. By having more time for small faith communities, recommended reading, community events, etc then we will be able to do that. She agreed that Marriage Encounter is so successful because they have the community follow-up once a month and that is what keeps it sustainable. She explained that it is important for her husband to be able to have a community of brothers around him, but it’s not available to him. She wants to provide that ability to him and people like him.

Rosie shared that if we were to follow the two-pronged approach (retreats and follow-up) we would start to see the natural growth that has occurred through ACTS in other places which is the way it is outlined in our manuals. She said that if we start it now we would be starting over, but doing it right. Larry explained that he got involved in a lot of things due to ACTS and that he loves being involved, but his concern is that it’s become even more difficult since at Mary Immaculate there is now only one english Mass. He perceives that the english ministries are at times pushed away.

The Core voted 5 to 3 (1 undecided) in favor of having one men’s and one women’s retreat per year.

On the Selection of Directors

Carmen thinks we should table this topic since with only two retreats per year directors will have more time for preparation.

New Business

The Core addressed issues brought up in the open floor section of the previous meeting.

  • Requiring Directors Have Experience as Co-Directors: Azucena asked if we would discuss this topic. Carmen explained that anyone interested in becoming a director can attend one of our director training workshops.
  • Reduced Rate Offer at St. Vincent de Paul Center: Larry said that he enjoyed working in the kitchen, but he missed being able to participate in the retreat and that with only one retreat per year that weight will be lifted. It was voted that we will move all retreats back to the De Paul Center in 2013 at the proposed discounted rate.
  • Nominees for Women’s Retreat Director: Ricky asked if we were requiring that the nominees have experience as a co-director. Carmen explained that it isn’t a requirement, but definitely a plus. Ricky read from the Core charter section on qualifications for directors which states that having been a co-director can fulfill the requirement of having demonstrated leadership ability.
  • Purchase of a Projector: Ricky stated that there have been repeated requests for projectors to use during team formation meetings. He has looked into the options and has found a projector (LG HW350T) on sale for $400 with free shipping (normally $800) if we purchase it by the 4th of October. It was voted that we will purchase a projector at the proposed price. Carmen will purchase it with her credit card and Sal will make sure she gets a reimbursement.
  • Access to St. Joseph Hall at the St. Joseph Salesian Center: Carmen stated that discussion of this topic is unnecessary due to the fact we won’t be continuing to hold retreats there.
  • Announce Opening to Replace Six Core Members: Carmen explained that we will need nominees from the community to select one man and one woman from each of the St. Ferdinandes. Ricky will contact the three parishes and ask that a notice be published in the bulletins.
  • Day of Reflection for the ACTS Community: Fr. Porfirio would like for us to have a community-wide day of reflection. He has requested a meeting with Carmen and Andrew to put something together.

Coordinator Reports

Each member of the Core gave an update:

  • Support: Larry shared that Candlelight was an experience for him and that he was a little lost. Now he knows what the whole process is. Laurie said that Candlelight went well, but that she felt that we should do a better job actually Sending Off the retreatants with song and prayer.
  • Supplies: Danny will be taking inventory of the trailer on Saturday, October 13th at 7:30am. Ricky will send a notice for volunteers in the email.
  • Financial: Sal passed because he had already passed out the financial report. His report stated that as of the 1st of October our accounts stand as follows: assets of $20,650.47 including retreat deposits, liabilities of $13,574.14 including scholarships and balance due to parishes, and equity of $7,076.33.
  • Social: Rosie read a letter from her fundraising committee about the October 20th Dinner Dance at St. Ferdinand from 7:00pm to midnight. Ricky will send it out to the ACTS community via email and phone.
  • Women’s Retreat: Azucena said the retreat went well, but three retreatants left during the retreat and one never showed up. She hasn’t had a chance to go over the evaluation forms, but will get back to us with feedback. There will be a reunion this Saturday, October 6th in Auditorium #1 at Mary Immaculate from 9am-12pm. She added that since the spiritual director doesn’t pay to be on team, the director maybe should not pay or should pay half, since it’s a lot of work.
  • Men’s Retreat: Joseph Montoya a co-director for the men’s team, speaking on behalf of Eugene Torres, the director, suggested that we make sure we select directors with a few months to prepare before selecting a team. He also added that going back to two retreats per year is a healthy thing and he has seen it happen before in his years of experience with ACTS in Texas. He also added that the men’s team would like to coordinate an Advent activity for the St. Ferdinand community. The directors would also like to provide a list of needs specific to each parish to the retreatants to help them get involved. Carlos, also a co-director, created folders for each team member with information from the Director’s Manual regarding the theology of ACTS and specific information about their respective services and ministries. He also asked if there was a policy of how many non-parishioners are to be on retreat. He is suggesting that we leave ten slots open to non-parishioners and reserve 30 spots for the St. Ferdinand only. Then at the end any men on the waiting list would be able to fill any empty slots after the tenth week of preparation.
  • Spiritual: Susan stated couple of the small faith communities have already begun or are beginning this month. She is hoping to set up the new retreatants into SFC’s by the end of the month. The Family Rosary Night will be held on Friday, October 12th at 6pm at the Castillo home, 14333 Tyler St. #12, Sylmar, CA 91342.
  • Communication: Ricky explained that he has received the new retreatant information from the women’s team treasure Carmen Torres and he will be adding them to the email and phone list.


Next Meeting
The meeting will be held Monday, November 5th. Ricky will do the opening prayer and Danny will do the closing prayer. Larry will bring snacks and Sal will be bringing drinks.

Closing Prayer
Sal Barrios led the closing prayer.


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