Published March 7, 2014
ATLANTA—The Jesuit priest who will be principal of the new Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School will be the spiritual director of the 2014 annual Men’s Retreat sponsored by men’s groups from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School and Marist School.
The retreat will be held Saturday, March 22, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Marist. The event is open to all men and there is no fee to attend. The theme will be “Father and Son: Praying with St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.”
Jesuit Father James Van Dyke, who will lead the retreat, has been named founding principal of the new Cristo Rey High School, opening this fall in midtown Atlanta. He has worked in Jesuit secondary education for 24 years and currently teaches English and religion at Fordham Prep School in the Bronx, N.Y.
Cristo Rey Atlanta is a newly sponsored ministry of the Society of Jesus. The 500-student Atlanta school will be part of the Cristo Rey network, which provides low-income students with a rigorous college prep curriculum. Students also participate in a corporate work-study program, which defers tuition costs. The school will open with 125 students.
Father Van Dyke, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., holds a master of divinity and a master of theology from the Weston School of Theology, now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He was ordained in 1993 and professed final vows in 2004. He has been a teacher and chaplain at high schools in New York City, Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y. He has also served as a retreat director and coach and has volunteered extensively at parishes.
The morning will begin with Mass at 8:30 a.m. in the chapel on the Marist campus, 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road, NE, Atlanta. Mass will be followed by breakfast, morning fellowship and the retreat agenda with Father Van Dyke in the lower cafeteria. The retreat will end at noon, followed by lunch and the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation.
Vince Baker, father of five current, past and future Blessed Trinity students, said the planners believe this annual spiritual day is needed for men to find the balance in their lives.
“We hear a lot how difficult it is to be a father, to be a parent, and to focus on our spiritual journey in this day and age with challenges of work-life balance,” Baker said. “How to balance our devotion to our work, our families, our spiritual life, our relationship with God … I think that is the continuing struggle we all experience as men. We’ve got a big call. How do we balance it all and make it work.”
The retreat is “a kind of annual compass check” and an opportunity “to take time out and reflect on our call as men, as spouses, as fathers, as the spiritual leaders of our families,” he said.
“We want to open it up to the widest possible community of all denominations in the spirit of Christ,” Baker said.
One of the calls men have “is to be devoted to charity and service in our lives,” he said.
They are “very excited” to hear Father Van Dyke and the mission of Cristo Rey to break the cycle of poverty and under-education in children’s lives, Baker said.
All fathers and men are invited to prayerfully consider attending this morning of reflection to enhance their faith life and contemplate God’s call in their life in fellowship with other men. It is sponsored by the Marist men’s Bible study and the men’s spiritual life committee at BT, which is located in Roswell.
All Marist and Blessed Trinity fathers and men of all faiths, including alumni, faculty, prospective school fathers, and friends of the two school communities, are welcome to attend.
Anyone planning to attend is asked to RSVP either to Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-656-8344 or to Bill Herald at email@example.com. Volunteers are also welcome to assist with Mass or retreat set up.