Live and Self-Guided Online Courses for Individuals or Groups

The intent of Contemplative Outreach is to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice of the Centering Prayer

Silent Night, Holy Night: A Retreat for Advent

"During Advent, as we accept the renewed coming of Divine light,
we receive encouragement to open to God’s coming in any way that He may choose.
This is the disposition that opens us completely to the light."
- Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

"Advent is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ."
- Thomas Merton

Encouraging a disposition of silence and stillness during this sacred and yet busy time of the year, this e-course for Advent will use focus on the practices of Centering Prayer and variations of Lectio Divina – quiet, receptive reflection using Scripture, art (Visio Divina) and music (Musica Divina).  The teachings of Fr. Thomas Keating and other mystical writers will also explore the great themes of this season as they inform and enrich the contemplative life.  These themes include: silence & stillness; beauty & splendor; inner preparation & expectation; Light; becoming; Incarnation.

The retreat content will be shared via email, video and audio recordings, images, as well as links to musical selections.  The Spirit will come alive as we witness and share our reflections and experiences in the online Practice Circle.

Mary Anne Best, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Pamela Begeman will facilitate this retreat.

Partial scholarships are available through Contemplative Outreach.  Please inquire at

More Information & to Register for Course


Silence and Centering Prayer: A Self-Guided Online Course

with retreat leaders Fr. Carl J. Arico and Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler

This online retreat assists participants in learning, renewing, and establishing a daily Centering Prayer practice as the foundation for the contemplative life. It consists of a combination of email, video and audio teachings.  It is self-guided and can be taken anytime, anywhere there is internet access.

This retreat also brings together two founding principals of Contemplative Outreach to offer the conceptual background, the method, and insights into Centering Prayer as a way of life. Gail and Fr. Carl draw upon their over 30 years of practiccing the prayer, as well as teaching it to thousands worldwide. They provide practical instruction of value to both new practitioners and even experienced practitioners about this transformative method of prayer.

More Information & Register for Course

An Online Retreat for the Welcoming Prayer

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. If Centering Prayer is practiced for one hour of the day, the Welcoming Prayer is for the other 23 hours. It is a "letting go" in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life. It helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored - in the body. The online retreat will consist of 12 emails of the course content, as well as video & audio teachings and daily practices.

To find more information, or to register, visit the Welcoming Prayer e-course page.


Lectio Divina - Introduction

This online retreat focuses on learning the method of Lectio Divina and incorporating this contemplative way of praying the Scriptures into daily practice. Click here for more information or to register for the Lectio Divina on demand course.


Lean In, Lighten Up and Let Go: Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative

This is an interactive online retreat to encourage a life of prayer and practice, both "on the chair" and in daily life. This course will support you in making a deeper commitment to your relationship with God, and strengthen your ability to live the contemplative life through dedication to prayer and practice, all within the normal routines of everyday life.

This e-course has been designed as a review of contemplative prayer practices for those who already engage in this form of prayer as well as those who would like to begin such a practice.

Led by Mary Dwyer, a long-time practitioner of Centering Prayer and student of Fr. Thomas Keating, this retreat is a four-week practicum based on a series of four questions, inspired by the teachings of Fr. Basil Pennington.

More Information...

Contemplative Discernment

A contemplative practice of discernment is not about decision-making, although this may be an eventual outcome. Rather, contemplative discernment is receptive in nature, a process of opening to receive clues about who we are in God. We focus on ever-deepening levels of relationship and trust in God's will for us. We learn how to listen deeply to our motivations and sort through and purify any mixed motivations. As this relationship deepens, we learn to allow the love of God to motivate our actions and manifest through us. We discover what it means to truly pray "not my will, but Thy will."

This online retreat consists of 12 emails, which will focus on teachings and practice; audio segments to enrich and support the practices and teachings; a recorded teleconference with Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Fr. Carl Arico; and mini-practices to guide you through various aspects of the discernment process. A daily Centering Prayer practice is recommended for taking this online retreat.

For more information or to register, visit the Contemplative Discernment e-course page.


Practicing the Presence of God

This online retreat explores in depth the contemplative prayer practice of living in the present moment with attention and intention and uses the examples of three Christian contemplative mentors: Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, St. Therese of Lisieux and Jean-Pierre De Caussade. Click here for more information or to register for the Practicing the Presence of God on demand course.

Download the Attention/Intention MP3 excerpt (right-click and save link/target as).


Centering Prayer- Introduction

Offered in partnership with Sounds True, this online self-guided course is available in an on-demand format, which means you can take it anytime, anywhere you have internet access.  For more information, click on the image.  Check the Sounds True website for any upcoming live versions of this course.

This new online course is useful for those who cannot attend an Introduction to Centering Prayer in person, or for those who would like to refresh their prayer practice.  The course includes guidance and teachings on video and audio from Fr. Thomas Keating, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Fr. Carl Arico.  

The boxed set in-home package is available in the store click here. The boxed set is recommended both for individual use to learn the prayer and for local Contemplative Outreach chapters offering the Centering Prayer Introductory Program as a group learning opportunity.


Silence and the Spiritual Journey

I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
- Hosea 2: 16

The purpose of our historical lifetime is to provide us with space for the upward journey of evolution into vertical time and our assimilation of the eternal values that Christ brought into the world. This journey consists of everything from great touches of God (consolations) to the Dark Nights. It is a journey of purification into illumination and understanding, and further into contemplation and union. Becoming familiar with — and reminded of — the map or signposts of the journey is very useful and reassuring to keep making the various consents along the way.

This journey, originally designed for the season of Lent in 2015, will explore these traditional signposts of the spiritual journey, including the Dark Nights, with new teachings by Fr. Thomas Keating. It consists of a combination of email, video and audio teachings.

You can expect:

  • Teachings delivered via 20 emails.
  • Video teachings excerpted from the Spiritual Journey DVD series, previously unpublished interviews of Fr. Thomas, and new audio teachings with Fr. Thomas recorded especially for this retreat.
  • A contemplative engagement with Scripture and the liturgical themes of Lent as a way of seeing, listening, reflecting, and then living the great themes of Lent in your own life.

Register Here for the On-Demand version (choose your own start date and frequency)

The Grace of Lent

Led by Contemplative Outreach, Spirituality & Practice

I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
— Hosea 2:16

Easter, with its grace of interior resurrection, is the radical healing of the human condition. Lent, which prepares us for this grace, is about what needs to be healed, [forgiven and celebrated].
— Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

For many, Lent has a gloomy, heavy air of the negative — rules, observances, abstentions, do not's, have not's, can not's. What is lost is the deep listening, the atmosphere, you might say, of Lent without which the ascetic practices lose much of their meaning. But another climate — a state of heart, being, and spirit can permeate our entire life for these seven weeks — all in the preparation of softening our heart to open to the joyful reality of the Resurrection, our personal union with God.

In our time together during this online retreat, we hope to create a Lenten atmosphere of silence, stillness, and a quiet inner joy of alert receptivity.

This 40-day journey will explore the foundations of the contemplative life necessary to live the path of divine love. It will consist of a combination of emails, video and audio teachings, as well as the opportunity to share and connect with others in the online Practice Circle.

This course is available anytime, anywhere you have email and internet access.
Read more and order here.