Looking back on 2018 . . . 

Thank you for your prayers and support of Chestnut Hill Center and of the apostolic work that is carried out here and in many places in the New England area. 

Recently, at Arnold Hall Conference Center, more than fifty men attended a Fatherhood Conference on Staying on Top of What is Important for the Family. The weekend consisted of talks, discussion periods and time for personal prayer, all aimed at helping men be more attentive to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. Speakers included Peter and Emilia Buckley, Paul Swope, Michael Moynihan from the Heights School in Maryland, Jim Stenson and Joe Arico. JJ Bowman did a wonderful job chairing the conference and orchestrating the preparation efforts.

Young men in high school are coming every week to the Center to attend a meditation in the chapel or to take part in The Edge, the seminar program that helps prepare them to look ahead to meet the challenges of college, professional life and marriage with a mature, Christian spirit. In the spring, many of them will start preparing for the Sebago Leadership Camp. We are now seeing many of these men, married and starting their professional careers, coming back to help us in the very programs they once attended as high school students. Plus, they serve as the activity coordinators in Horizons and Frontiers, the Father and Son Clubs running here. Please go to http://www.chestnuthillcenter.org/blog/horizons-and-frontiers-fun-for-dads-and-sons for more highlights.

An exciting event happened in early September that closely aligns with our mission! After over five years of planning, a number of families associated with Chestnut Hill opened the doors of Sparhawk Academy, a school for boys in grades three through eight. It is located in Millis, southwest of Boston, on fifty-six beautiful acres.

Sparhawk Academy will help parents provide their boys with the foundation in character and virtue they need to mature into the leaders, husbands, and fathers that God wants them to be. The school wants to aid the development of boys’ moral imagination and intellectual life, so as to support the quest for personal holiness. The faculty consists of men who have a proven commitment to the liberal arts education of boys and has come to Sparhawk by invitation from across the US and abroad. Rev. John Grieco, from Chestnut Hill Center, serves as Chaplain. Mass is said daily in the school chapel.

Thirty-seven students enrolled in Sparhawk (www.sparhawkacademy.org) in September, and they have added a few more students since then. Boys are thriving in the classes and working on projects to maintain the property, competing in sports, raising chickens, and engaging in a robotics competition, to name a few of the daily activities. Bob Sylvain, Sparhawk Head of School, already has an expanding list of prospective students for next year.

The Sparhawk Board now faces the situation where it could double in size next year but needs the facilities to accommodate such growth and the financial resources to expand. Chestnut Hill Center supports Sparhawk. The school’s mission parallels ours: to reinforce the quest for maturity and holiness in the foundational years of young men. Thus, we ask you to support Sparhawk Academy financially at year-end. Please consider sending a contribution to Sparhawk Academy, 376 Orchard Street, Millis, MA 02054, or go to their website, and make a contribution on-line, under Giving. And come visit! Sparhawk welcomes visitors. Their phone number is 617-727-4295.

The retreat season at Arnold Hall Conference Center in Pembroke, MA, starts in January. This year, if you or a friend are making a retreat there for the first time, we offer a special rate of $199. Please go to www.arnoldhall.org for details and to register.

I close with a few lines from the Prelate of Opus Dei, Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, on the occasion of the recent feasts of All Saints and All Souls: “Another reality that fills us with consolation is the Communion of Saints. How much it encourages us to know that we are never alone, that in Christ we are one Body! We build up the Church, and concretely the Work, wherever we are: all together and everywhere. We uphold each other!” 

We hope you have a holy Advent and joyful Christmas season! You and your family are invited to our Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 30 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. 

Joe Billmeier

Chestnut Hill Center