Something that we spend some time with during a COR weekend is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Today my dad sent me this "Catechism in a Year" email and included a small message that said, "Please, go to confession often, you will feel so much better afterward. And say your rosary! Love ya, Dad." I just think my dad gives pretty solid advice so I wanted to pass this along to you. Also, it's pretty sweet that they talk about the Prodigal Son!

Yesterday was a pretty special day for the Catholic Church. We celebrated the canonization (when someone is officially declared a saint) of two pretty cool guys, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II (JP2 as we like to call him).
Pope John XXIII was a pretty cool guy, but I’m not really here to chat about him.  A number of you know about my kind of crazy obsession with JP2. I mean, I sometimes talk about him like we were old friends that made our first COR together. I’ve even said that I’ll probably name my first kid after the guy, and that’s saying a lot since my last name will be Smith forever, and John Smith is probably the most boring name out there (sorry grandpa!) But honestly, JP2 was a really important person in my life when I was a teenager. He had this kind of mystical way of reaching out to young people and getting their attention. He showed us that we were vital, important members of the Church, that we mattered, we were needed. He had a supernatural way of sharing the love of Jesus with us. His words have helped shape my spirituality and the way I approach my faith. He is just a really stellar guy!
Anyway. My sister sent me the link to this video this morning. I’ve seen a lot of videos on JP2, (you should see how many are recorded on my DVR) but this one does a really great job of expressing the profound love I have for this really awesome guy–I mean SAINT (yay!)

Check it out. It’s 6 minutes, and so worth it. (I cried–because I get mushy about Jesus stuff).

As always, love you guys.
Be not afraid.






Here is a post from Ryan, who is studying abroad in Austria!  This is a great read!  


Greetings COR Family!


Grüβ Gott! As they say in Gaming, Austria.  It is wonderful to have a chance to write to all of you.  I have only begun my journey on the other side of the world, but it has already been an opportunity to grow.  It is amazing to witness how far back in time our faith truly reaches.   “Grüβ Gott” literally translates as, “God greet you.”  While it is likely that the religious aspect of this greeting is not on the minds of those who say it, it shows how deep the faith runs.  Another time I saw this was when we went to the Melk Abbey (Melk CourtyardChurch at Melk), a Benedictine monastery that has been active since 1089. For nine centuries, there have been monks living here.  That’s twice as old as the reformation and thrice as old as the United States.  While we think that Molly’s first COR seems like forever ago, our family in Christ has been around for almost two millennia.   


A lot has happened in two millennia.  In reading the Early Church Fathers for my Honors class, it is incredible the difference in faith and childlike simplicity I have noticed between then and now.  Reading the ancient scholars, I was amazed to see how integrated the Sacred Scriptures are in their works.  It is a faith infused with prayer and Scripture, not a belief, like cold reason.  Rev. Fulton J. Sheen once said that one cannot use the Bible when discussing faith with a Muslim because he has his own “bible.”  Instead, one must use reason.  The Catechism also attests to this:


39      In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.


I think there exists a phenomenon today in which we are trying so hard to discuss the faith on the same level as the modern world—namely, with cold reason.  While it is important to open up the faith to these people, there exists a tendency to forget that the faith goes immensely beyond reason.  Our Sacred Texts themselves are described as such in the Catechism:


50      By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.


Sacred Scripture is not a philosophical essay pointing out the arguments and counterarguments for God’s existence and the moral life. They are God’s self-revealing of immense Love for his people. 


If I were to never come back to the United States, and never to call, email, text, or in any way communicate with anyone, how could I say I have a relationship with any of you?  Our relationship with God is no different.  It requires quality time.  It requires a LOT of it.  Prayer, in one dimension, is talking with God. But the Scripture is also a form of communication!  Isn’t it frustrating when you call a friend and leave a voicemail, but he never listens to it? Or you send them an e-mail that she never reads?  God gave us Scripture so that we might have a way to communicate with him.


I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5


By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35


A special thanks goes out to all those that helped with this video: to Matt, Ryan, and Becca for all of their hard work with shooting the footage, and to all of the teens that volunteered to be interviewed.


Now that we finally have the video out, share it with your friends that are interested in coming on the COR weekends!



Katt (center) with Max and Rechelle

Hello world, my name is Kathryn, but I’m mostly known as Katt. I’d like to start off by informing you all that I am not one for blogging, or even writing stories. Though if there was one thing worth blogging about, it would be COR. And luckily for me, that’s what I’m going to do. 

I was born and raised in a United Methodist church. I was literally clueless about the Catholic Church, and even after a friend invited me to go on a Catholic retreat, I was still completely confused about it. A few months after that retreat, I was again invited on a different Catholic retreat named COR. I was really not excited at first to come for the reason that my first encounter with a Catholic retreat was so uncomfortable and I could tell I didn’t fit in. I assumed it wouldn’t be any better, and I was wrong. It was hands down one of the most memorable weekends I’ve ever had in my life so far. Not only did I meet my best friends, but I met God there in a different way than I had before. Before COR, God was always there with me as a feeling. A feeling that someone was holding me, a feeling that everything would be okay. I always thought that’s what being a Christian was, a feeling. I was wrong. God is a presence and a present, and COR taught me that. It taught me that God is an active member in my family so I need to love my earthly family no matter what the circumstance, because that’s what God does for us. I don’t think I would have realized all of those necessary parts of living if I hadn’t gone on COR. 
Now COR being a Catholic retreat, I learned a lot about Catholicism too. I met people who are so passionate about being Catholic, I realized its something that I never felt about being United Methodist. On about my third retreat, I realized that, and I wanted to change it. It dawned on me that it’s a possibility that the “crazy Catholic” people my family always warned me about could be right. This could be the way to truly live in the presence of God. So, I am going to begin RCIA classes in September in hopes of finding that passion I’m missing from my life. Saying that to myself is terrifying, but I know my COR family will always be there regardless of what happens, and that kind of support is what everyone needs and deserves. 
In conclusion to my little rant of what COR has done for me, I just want to throw out there that God can do for anyone to what He did for me. I’m not a one-in-a-seven-trillion out come of this retreat. It can happen to everyone, and I hope and pray that it does. 
COR rocks! 

Good day, COR family!

This weekend we will celebrate yet another COR retreat at the St. Leonard Youth Retreat Center.  This retreat will be in loving memory of Bryan Wedell, a member of our COR family who passed away suddenly on April 5th.  Bryan’s sister, mother, aunt and cousins were very involved in COR many years ago, and we will keep their family in our prayers this weekend. 

In addition to your prayers for the Wedell family, please keep the following participants of the April 2013 COR in your prayers:


Bridget B.
Claire C.
Courtney M.
Dave F.
Erin H.
Thomas G.
Alyssa S.
LaQuann D.
Quinten O.
Gwen M.
Liam O.
Alexandra J.
Matt M.
Justin M.
Leaf H.
Matt B.
Steven O.

Teen/Adult Teams and Returning:

Hannah D.
Kaylee D.
Max H.
Matt K.
Katt K.
Morgan T.
Sarah M.
Becca R.
Matt S.
Molly S.
Tim S.

Dotty S.

Kitchen Crew:

Walt P.
Ronny S.
Shayla K.
Jennie M.
Stephanie D.
Thomas D.
Brandon H.
Amy K.
Ella M.
Rechelle R.
Victoria R.
Ryan S.
Joe S.


Please also consider coming to the retreat center on Saturday, April 13th to welcome the neophytes into this wonderful family.  If you are able to, please arrive at the retreat center no earlier than 5pm on Saturday.  Expect to stay for a few hours.  As you may or may not know, we recently changed the format of the Agape dinner so that those who come back to visit serve the dinner and assist in the clean up, so that the kitchen crew can have a (much deserved) break.  So, we need all the help we can get! 

Thank you for your prayers!  I hope to see all of you on Saturday! 

All my COR love,



This is the week to get involved and strengthen your faith!  Bring a friend with you and the understanding of the week’s activities will become clearer and stronger.  Starting at 7PM on Wednesday evening, almost any church will be having special Holy Week ceremonies.  Wednesday is Tenebrae.  Thursday is Mass and washing of the feet.  Friday is my favorite at St. Joseph’s Avon Lake and that is the Living Stations of the Cross.  This is a stations of the cross ceremony written by Blessed JP2.  Very cool!  The finish with a special Saturday evening mass complete with fires and candles.


Get involved and share your strength!  We all need it!

Uncle Joe

Hey COR family!

Yesterday we had our last formation meeting for the January 2013 COR, and now we begin a week of spiritual, mental, and physical preparation.  We ask that you join us in praying for those that will be welcomed into the COR family this weekend, and for those that have spent weeks preparing.

Please pray for the following people:

  • Amy K
  • Michaela C
  • Emily C
  • Catherine S
  • Cole F
  • Alexandra C
  • Matthew K
  • Kayley G
  • Jacob K
  • Casey B
  • Elizabeth H
  • Jonathan D
  • Danny B
  • Rechelle R
  • Victoria R
  • Kaylee D
  • Jennie M
  • Ella M
  • Nate C
  • Anna T
  • Brandon H
  • Kathryn K
  • Kristin S
  • Ben P
  • Brian D
  • Joe C
  • Molly S
  • Nick K
  • Maryann K
  • Ronny S
  • Walt P
  • Molly C
  • Ryan K
  • Matt S
  • Stephanie D
  • Max H
  • Shayla K
  • Dan R
  • Becca R
  • Joe S

We also ask that you join us in our Agape Celebrations on Saturday, January 19th.   The event will begin with 4:30pm Mass at St. Jude’s in Elyria.  Immediately following Mass, everyone will travel to the retreat center.  If you are not able to make it to Mass, you may come to the retreat center no earlier than 5:30pm.  This year, the Agape Dinner was revised so that those that come back will be serving dinner to both kitchen crew AND the retreatants.  Because of this, we will need a lot of hands in the kitchen and dining room.  Please consider coming to this awesome part of the COR retreat!

Hope to see you all this weekend!



Happy New Year, COR family!  

The New Year is a great time to reflect on years past, and today as I’m sitting in my office, I’m remembering all of the people I’ve encountered throughout the years because of the COR program.  The new and old COR crosses are in my office, standing side by side, and I can’t help but think about all of the lives that COR has changed.  I started reading the names, and with nearly every name came a great memory.  Some of the names are so worn you can’t read them anymore, some of them belong to people we only encountered once, some of them belong to people who have passed on.  


I know that many of you have moved on, have gone to college, started careers, some even have started families of your own.  But through the years, a part of you remains here, on these COR crosses…a symbol of your commitment to Christ and your membership in this remarkable COR family.  

And so, on this New Year’s Day, I remember you, and I pray for you.  That you would always know the love of Christ, and that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you have a family who loves you, cares for you, and prays for you.  You are always welcome here.  

Today’s first reading offers a beautiful blessing that I would like to pass on to all of you: 

“The Lord bless you and keep you!
the Lord let His face shine upon 
you, and be gracious to you! 
The Lord look kindly upon you
and give you peace!”
-NM 6 22-27


Be assured of our prayers for you this year, especially as we prepare for the January 2013 COR retreat.  

Peace to you on this beautiful New Year’s day! 



P.S.  You can check out our album on our Facebook page to find your name on the COR cross!