Washington retreat will aim to strengthen Catholics’ prayer lives


By Celine Klosterman

We live such busy lives that we often fail to take time for the Lord, Father Troy Richmond observed. But he, Father Bill Kneemiller and Carol Kaalberg, parish life administrator for parishes in Nichols, Lone Tree and Hills, hope Catholics come away from an upcoming retreat they’re leading “with a deeper hunger for daily prayer,” said Fr. Richmond, pastor of St. James Parish in Washington.

“Prayer as the Foundation of our Spiritual Lives” will be offered Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. James Church. “It’s a great time of the year to have a day of reflection on prayer, and an excellent preparation for the Advent season coming up,” Fr. Kneemiller said. Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Hills and St. Mary parishes in Lone Tree and Nichols, he has previously led the retreat twice at Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat near Wheatland. 

“We begin the day with the greatest prayer of all, the holy Mass, and end with adoration,” he said. “In between, we will experience anew the beauty and love of prayer that is really the key of our Christian living.”

Retreat participants will explore the power of praying the rosary from the heart and discuss the Scriptural rosary, in which Catholics recite a Scripture passage or meditation before saying each Hail Mary. Fr. Kneemiller said that while serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves in Afghanistan from summer 2009 to summer 2010, he was inspired by a lay leader who had “a transforming experience” while praying the rosary. The leader “went from viewing the rosary as a way to ‘count prayers’ to being in the ‘glorious presence of the Lord’ when he had the grace to pray from the heart,” the priest said.


Fr. Kneemiller also has been moved by people who pray to their guardian angels and take time amid busy schedules to pray.

“There is no right or wrong way to pray,” Fr. Richmond said. “Prayer is our loving conversation with the Lord, our heart speaking to his, his heart speaking to us.”  

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