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27912 Baker Canyon Rd Silverado, Orange County, CA 92676

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your donation to the “Rebuild the Cross at Santiago Retreat Center” Go Fund Me page, and to give you an update since the attack upon the cross, the symbol of our Christian faith.


As you know, this particular cross was erected on Father’s Day weekend as part of a men’s retreat.  Two weeks later, the cross was vandalized with a chainsaw, was cut into pieces and tossed down a ravine in a dry creek bed.  The Orange County Sheriff’s Department dispatched officers to file a criminal report and within a day they had dispatched investigators to try to determine the perpetrators.  As of this date, no suspects have been identified.

As this act of vandalism took place right at the beginning of our summer camps season we were, as you can imagine, more than a little dismayed.  However, we soldiered on in service to our families.  It seems that that the Lord has blessed us with our best summer camp season ever, in terms of number of families served, campers enrolled, and the overall spirit of the camps.  What can be a very tiring 6 weeks of programming was, this year, filled with joy and many blessings.  I believe this is due to grace received from this act of violence that was responded to with charity (love) as demonstrated by your financial gift and prayerful support.


Summer camps season is now ended.  Our mission now turns to our support of the 600+ Catholic parishes throughout the southland, as well as other Christian ministries who utilize our facilities for their ministries’ retreat needs.


But what of the cross?  After all, our faith is one of resurrection.  The cross is being rebuilt!  As one of the first projects for the Santiago Trade School which welcomes it first cohort of students on Labor Day September 4.  This rebuilt cross will also serve as the first of what will become a full 14 crosses in a stations of the cross path down Blackstar Canyon hiking trail on property that is owned and secured by the retreat center.  These stations will be visible to the hikers who are on public property but located on private property and secured with video recording devices.   We will of course keep you up to date on this project as if comes into being.

Until then, know that you are bing prayed for specifically during all masses that offered here at the retreat center, and of course we invite your ongoing prayers and support for our mission.


Wishing you a Buen Camino this day.


In the Immaculata,


Mark McElrath
Executive Director
714-401-0845 (cell)


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We provide the opportunity for guests attending retreats, conferences and events  as well as employees, volunteers, and benefactors to fulfill their highest calling and greatest happiness in life, which is to get close to God and in turn, reach out to others in their own environments with God’s loving care and concern.

Santiago Retreat Center
27912 Baker Canyon Rd
Silverado, Orange County, CA 92676

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