Inaugural Catholic Writers Retreat to be held at SHU

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Father Peter Stravinskas of the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman will host the first-ever Catholic Writers Retreat at Seton Hall University in the interest of teaching fiction and nonfiction writers how to infuse Catholic values and terminology into their work.

The retreat, which runs from June 7 to 9, will feature workshops on a variety of topics like how to cover the Vatican and what Catholic editors and publishers look for when choosing material to print. These sessions will be led by some of the biggest names in Catholic writing, including Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing; Father Nicholas Gregoris, managing editor of The Catholic Response; Mark Bauerlein, senior editor of First Things; and Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report. Additionally, participants will have the chance to share what they are currently working on and receive feedback from their peers.

By the end of the retreat, Stravinskas hopes attendees will have gained the knowledge and passion needed to become powerful voices of Catholicism within the literary and journalistic worlds. Such voices are needed now more than ever, he believes.

“It is clear that we are inhabiting a hostile secular culture,” Stravinskas said. “About 50 years ago Bishop Fulton Sheen was one of the most popular people on television and radio, but that culture has been eroded by people who don’t want to acknowledge religion. It is important for writers to reinforce people’s faith and respond when Catholicism is attacked.”

Stravinskas is eager to welcome novelists and poets to the retreat because fiction authors can create characters and stories exemplifying Catholic virtues. He also wants journalists and nonfiction writers to come because he feels the media desperately needs more people with religious expertise. At a time when many outlets are cutting their religion beat reporters, he said many news stories are getting the facts wrong about Catholicism.

Tuition is charged and includes meals and housing within Seton Hall’s Boland Hall dormitories for those who require it. Some limited scholarship assistance is available. There is no deadline to register for the retreat, but those interested in attending should do so soon — there are only 20 spots still available. To reserve your place or to learn more about the retreat, contact Stravinskas at fstravinskas@hotmail.com.

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