Centering Prayer Programs

DECEMBER 18, 2021
9 am – 12 noon via Zoom

“Icons as Portals for Unlocking the Contemplative Heart”

A COMW Half-Day Retreat led by Mary Atalo

Icons, as opposed to paintings, are considered as “writings of the heart” which open the contemplative to “Behold” the Glory of the Lord. Many paintings can aid in our “seeing,” but icons allow us to “behold.” In our contemplative prayer, first through a silent “gazing” at the image in Visio Divina, another realm begins to appear which lures us to step beyond the gaze into the ineffable realm of the Divine, where “Beholding” is the work of silence. This “Beholding” transfigures the way we see the world, how we act in it, and conveys the great hope of God’s enduring love and wisdom as promised in the Covenant of Peace.

In this mini retreat, we will practice contemplative “Beholding” through Visio Divina of icons from the ancient Orthodox Akathistos Hymn, The O Antiphons, The Litany of Loreto, and the Old Testament Wisdom Books. We shall see that there are really two Christmas stories of Incarnation occurring during this season: one occurring in time and space as the incarnation of Christ; another occurring in eternity, as the incarnation of the Divine. We will follow the Contemplative Outreach guidelines for Visio Divina.

Rev. Dr. Mary Atalo is an Archpriest of the Wisdom tradition in the independent Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch, and Associate Dean of Sophia Divinity School, the Church’s distant learning Seminary. She is the rector of a newly formed church, “Our Lady of the Bridge” in Union Bridge, MD, a sacramental and contemplative community in the Christian mystical tradition. She had a former 30-year career as an oceanographer, and seeks to bridge science and religion. In 2020, she led the COMW Advent Mini-retreat, and has been an advocate of the contemplative prayer practices of Fr. Thomas Keating and Fr. William Menninger in daily life.

Registration is Required

Suggested $25 Program Donation per Half-Day Retreat
As a non-profit spiritual community, Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington (COMW) relies on financial support from attendees to allow us to continue to offer these programs.

NOTE: In January 2022 we will take a short break and there will be no Half-Day Retreat scheduled. Look for our upcoming program announcement for February.

Maryland/Washington metro area

Facilitator Training/Enrichment

In partnership with our national organization, Contemplative Outreach Ltd. (COL), COMW offers a three-step, hybrid path for Facilitator training/enrichment for those in the Maryland/Washington DC area. It combines:

  • COL’s Online Training: Level I Facilitator Formation Workshop (available for a fee here).
  • For would-be Facilitators in Maryland or Washington, D.C., a mentoring period in conjunction with the online Level 1 Facilitator Formation workshop (above) is available. Occasional mentoring is also available for present COMW Facilitators. (see contact below)  
  • Attend COMW’S in-person, overnight Facilitating Workshop (May 20-21, 2022) in Bethesda, MD.

Contact Marjorie Centofanti for details and registration.

MAY 20-21, 2022

Bethesda, MD

Overnight Facilitating Workshop

Hosted by Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington.

National Contemplative Outreach (CO Ltd.) presenters, along with COMW’s service team, offer this special event to encourage and enrich the experience of being a Centering Prayer group Facilitator. It’s the first of its kind in our area.

Our mission aims to help attendees:
1) recognize their calling more clearly;
2) encourage more meaningful group Centering Prayer;
3) deepen faith in the contemplative path;
4) become savvy about CO Ltd.’s many resources.

CLICK HERE for more workshop information regarding agenda,
workshop leaders, venue and registration fees.

Once registered, mail your deposit (check or money order only) to COMW Treasurer:
Kathleen Blank Riether, 5265 Winter View Dr., Alexandria, VA, 22312-3912.


Agenda & Registration, contact Marjorie Centofanti.

Scholarships & Funding, contact Kathleen Blank Riether.

Rescheduled from May 2021.

When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6