The Southwestern-style retreat center hosted more than 300 priests last year

By Douglas Morino     10/16/2018

The House of Prayer, a tranquil refuge for priests tucked among sycamores and oaks on the edge of Santiago Canyon, has undergone dramatic renovations.

The 7-month project will ensure the 34-year old Southwestern-style retreat center in Orange remains an oasis of calm and peace far into the future. Small casitas accommodate up to 8 priests who can stay for a day or as long as a week.

“The rooms were in need of renovation,” said House of Prayer Director Rev. Domenico Di Raimondo. “The life of a priest is very busy. This work will help ensure the House of Prayer remains a calm place for rest and spiritual reflection for many years to come.”

Updates include interior and exterior painting, a new air conditioning system and water heater, along with refurbished rooms that feature new bedding, chairs and artwork. The parking lot is repaved and gardens dotting the property have been redesigned. The Mass chapel has been remodeled, and features a new skylight and windows.

The House of Prayer is one of only a handful of retreat centers in California reserved exclusively for priests. Last year, more than 340 priests stayed at the Diocese of Orange-owned House of Prayer, some coming from as far away as Chicago, New York and Florida for solitary stays and group retreats.

The House of Prayer is open to all Catholic priests in need of a quiet space to rest, reflect and pray. Fresh meals are prepared in a kitchen and served in a communal dining area or in the priests’ private rooms. Two chapels offer space for private and group prayer. A large living room is used for relaxing and meetings. A team of spiritual directors are available to meet and listen to priests.

Thanks to the quick work of firefighters, the retreat center narrowly escaped the 2017 Canyon Fire, surviving with only limited damage. Charred trees have been removed, making way for new trees and plants.

The House of Prayer will host an open house for priests on Monday, Oct. 29. Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, will give a blessing of the newly-renovated retreat center.

To learn more about the House of Prayer, visit: https://www.rcbo.org/group/house-of-prayer/