Partnership helps CRC to host retreats

June 18, 2013

DICKINSON — A journey that began as an act of faith several years ago has cleared a major milestone in the effort to keep the Christian Renewal Center (CRC) open for ministry.

The property and the buildings were recently sold by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to the local Scanlan Foundation, which benefits Catholic causes. After the Archdiocese signed a contract with CRC Partners Inc., a 501(c)3 formed by six lay people five years ago, Scanlan deeded the buildings and part of the property to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to continue to operate, and CRC Partners will be financially responsible for the center.

“For the past five years, the CRC Partners have kept the CRC operations going, paying the bills, making payroll and hosting (more than) 150 ACTS retreats, among many other events,” said Robert Kehoe, president of CRC Partners.

To have gotten to this point would not have been possible without the vision and help provided by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and the Scanlan Foundation, he added.

“This collaboration is in everybody’s interests,” Kehoe said. “We are grateful to Cardinal DiNardo for having the vision to see the importance and need for the CRC, and the Scanlan Foundation for its wonderful generosity.” 

The CRC is Houston’s largest Catholic retreat center and saving it will benefit the entire Archdiocese, he said.

Interest in keeping the center open for Catholic ministry was spurred by CRC Partners involvement with ACTS — Adoration, Community, Theology, Service — retreats. 

Kehoe explained that ACTS retreats grew out of the Cursillo movement and have become increasingly popular around the country and in the Archdiocese.

ACTS retreats focus on building the faith community one parish at a time and allow participants to “get to know the people they share the pews with every Sunday while they become more involved in serving the parish and growing their relationship with Jesus,” Kehoe said. “ACTS can really light people on fire for the faith.” 

It’s that dynamic energy Cardinal DiNardo recognized, he said. Kehoe recalled the homily given by the Cardinal at the 25th anniversary Archdiocesan Mass for the ACTS community last November. To a packed Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Kehoe said Cardinal DiNardo spoke about the need of everyone to have “an upper-room experience.” And that, Kehoe said, is a good description for ACTS retreats.

But many other retreats and events, such as marriage encounters, are also hosted at the CRC. It’s a busy place, with 16 full-time employees and about 7,000 visitors annually. 

Kehoe said the plan is to continue to expand the use of the facility, including hosting more ACTS retreats, the construction of a second chapel and a new focus on youth retreats, which will enhance the plan by the Oblates to better evangelize the youth. Recently, the Knights of Columbus provided kitchen upgrades to meet the needs of youth and other retreats. 

“We want people to know that the CRC will not be asking the Archdiocese for any funds to build or operate the CRC,” Kehoe said. “It is the job of the CRC Partners to raise funds and solicit donations to continue to grow the CRC. Please contact the CRC to donate and become more involved.”

The Christian Renewal Center is located at 1515 Hughes Rd. in Dickinson. For more information about CRC, call 281-337-1312 or visit