AIM’s in-person retreats take place in an informal, nurturing, family-like environment, while maintaining a reverent mood during times of worship and prayer. Each individual with a physical disability is paired with a “buddy” who provides one-on-one assistance during the retreat—with both fully participating in retreat activities.
The overnight retreats start Friday evening and run through Sunday mid-afternoon. They include priest-led spiritual talks with group discussions, prayer, faith-building activities, singing, Mass and meals. There is also time for adoration, personal reflection and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Expect to be delighted, as you won't find a friendlier, more positive place to be than at an AIM retreat.
Expect to be transformed through inspiring talks and meaningful discussion, and through Mass, adoration and song.
Expect to be loved, as Jesus asks us all to love, while your needs are cared for with dignity and concern.
Expect to be energized, sharing in spiritual, artistic and musical activities that will fill you with a joy that will last long after the retreat has ended.
AIM retreats feed the body as well as the soul. You won't go hungry in either case.
Your physical and emotional well-being are considered at the same time the focus is on your spiritual well-being.
Participants are assigned a discussion table during retreats, giving them a chance to connect with other members of their table and delve into their personal faith journeys. There’s lots of singing during the sessions. There are also activities to build camaraderie and to help participants manifest the faith inside them.
Typical sleeping arrangements have two people to a room, with retreatants paired up on the lower level and AIM volunteers upstairs. The AIM volunteers help their buddies as needed retiring at night and getting ready in the morning. The nurse or nurse’s aides also work to assist with any physical, comfort or health-related issues overnight.
Participants choose their own seats and tables at meals, allowing them to meet and get to know others at the retreat who aren’t part of their table group during retreat sessions.
Mass is offered in the chapel on Saturday and Sunday, with adoration of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation provided on Saturday.
There’s more to tell you about what goes on, but that would ruin the surprise.
Retreats are held at the Duncan Conference Center, an accessible, nondenominational campus on Military Trail in Delray Beach. It has a meeting room for retreat sessions, a dormitory for all participants, a dining hall for meals and a chapel for Mass and adoration. The outdoor space has a labyrinth for meditating.
Each person who attends a weekend retreat and needs physical assistance is paired with a volunteer who serves as their hands, eyes, ears, feet—whatever is required to facilitate full participation.
Each volunteer goes through training to provide effective assistance and is fingerprinted and screened by the Diocese of Palm Beach as part of its efforts to provide safe environments for vulnerable adults.
Because participants have physical disabilities, even those with minimal impairment are considered “vulnerable” under those requirements.
During AIM's in-person retreat weekends and days of renewal, a registered nurse is in attendance to assist with the needs of the participants and to oversee the taking of medications based on the information provided by the participants. Two nurse's aides are also on hand to assist in the dormitory for the overnight portions of the weekend retreats.
5:30 – Arrival
6:25 – Welcome and Grace before dinner
6:30 – Dinner
7:30 – Gathering Songs
7:45 – Introductions and Retreat Opening Rituals
8:45 – First Talk by Spiritual Director
9:00 – Reflection, Table Questions and Sharing
9:25 – Table Summaries
9:30 – Night Prayer
9:35 – Retreatants’ Bedtime
10:00 – Team Meeting in Conference Room
7:00 – Buddies Rise
7:30 – Retreatants Rise
8:15 – Morning Prayer
8:30 – Breakfast
9:15 – Gathering Songs
9:45 – Second Talk by Spiritual Director
10:05 – Reflection, Table Questions and Sharing
10:40 – Table Summaries
10:45 -- Break
11:00 – Mass and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
12:00 – Lunch
1:00 – Break, Rest, Reflection and/or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
3:00 – Third Talk by Spiritual Director
3:20 – Reflection, Table Questions and Sharing
3:45 - Table Summaries
3:50 – Drawing of Posters
4:15 – Break
4:30 – AIM’s Got Talent
6:00 - Dinner
6:45 – Poster Sharing
7:00 – Entertainment
8:00 – Reconciliation Service and Sacrament of Reconciliation
9:00 – Retreatants’ Bedtime
9:30 – Team Meeting
7:00 – Buddies Rise
7:30 – Retreatants Rise
8:15 – Morning Meditation in Conference Room
8:30 – Breakfast, Pack and Move Out of Dormitory
9:30 – Table Pictures
10:00 – Gathering Songs
10:15 – Fourth Talk by Spiritual Director
10:35 – Reflection, Table Questions and Sharing
10:55 – Table Summaries
11:00 – Retreat Closing Rituals
12:30 – Lunch
1:30 – Spirit of AIM Talk
2:00 – Mass
3:00 – Departure