“Where the North American St. Nicholas Revolution Began”
2018 Seminar & Spiritual Retreat Schedule
Nicholas Institute Retreat & Seminar
Join St. Nicholases, Santa, Mrs. Claus Professionals and Serious Amateurs From Across North America
Registration Will Open 23rd March!
St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, Detroit, MI
The St. Nicholas Institute is the one-of-a-kind spiritual retreat and educational symposium uniquely designed with the professional St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the serious amateur in mind.
Conducted each October in the beautifully serene setting of Detroit’s St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, the multi-day St. Nicholas Institute represents a refreshing change of pace for “men and women in red.” Institute participants will experience: informative seminar sessions presented by knowledgeable speakers representing diverse fields of expertise. As an added plus, there opportunities for private reflection and/or prayer, recreation, welcome periods for relaxation and/or “siestas.” This balanced combination of a spiritual retreat and informative seminar is held within a warm, quiet environment, encouraging mutual sharing, socializing and building comradery with other faith-based men and women who recognize that "Jesus is", indeed, "the reason for the Season."
The St. Nicholas Institute is open to all Mrs. Clauses, St. Nicholases and/or Santa Clauses (traditionally bearded or theatrically bearded “St. Nicks”) from all Christian backgrounds (Eastern Orthodox Christians, Protestants, as well as Roman and Eastern Catholics). Our unique program is designed to effectively portray Santa Claus and St. Nicholas for a wide variety of venues (both secular and religious). Special attention is given that encourages prayerful openness to the very same Spirit that animated the life and actions of the original "jolly old St. Nicholas", whose heart was made glad by the Babe born in Bethlehem.
Fr. Joseph Marquis, founder and executive director, St. Nicholas Institute
Fr. Joseph is the pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church, Livonia, MI. Possessing over 45 years of professional Santa Claus / St. Nicholas experience. During the course of his for and-one-half decades of experience, he has brought “St. Nick” to life for both national and local media during LIVE broadcasts. These include CBS (Television Network) broadcasts of the legendary J.L. Hudson & Company Thanksgiving Day Parade, which were Detroit’s worthy rival to New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. He’s likewise featured as Santa in print, television and radio commercials. His recognitions include: an Emmy Award winning Santa, judged “Super Santa” by The Detroit News, and is also a member of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. Most recently, Marquis appeared as both St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, accompanied by six puppet characters of his own, for the children’s Christmas DVD, “Saint to Santa: How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus.” (See “Saint to Santa” trailer on the web site menu).Fr. Joseph has been regularly seen on EWTN (Global Catholic Television Network).
St. Nicholas Institute, is
the pastor of Risen
Christ Lutheran Church,
Plymouth, MI. A
true "Renaissance Man"
in the field of entertainment, he has distinguished himself
professionally in a wide variety of venues for more than two-and-one
half decades. His long list of credits include: numerous private
parties hosted by Oprah
working with the legendary Quincy
musical presentations at Walt
Disney World in
addition to countless appearances on television and radio. Pastor
Rennie’s musical and performing gifts offer added pizzazz
during the Institute seminars and as the featured vocalist for the
Nicholas Institute Awards Banquet.
2017 SNI Schedule Outline
Monday, October 2nd thru Thursday, October 5th, 2017
(The 2018 schedule will broadly follow this outline.)
Paul of the Cross Retreat Center
NOTE: Please be advised that this schedule may be subject to change, without prior notice.
October 2, 2017
5:30-6:30 p.m. Supper (Refectory)
Welcome and Introductions (Main
The St. Nicholas Institute “went global” when Pastor Rennie Kaufamann and Fr. Joseph Marquis (as St. Nicholas) participated during the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia, PA. Both clerics met an estimated 16,000 attendees from across around the world, during this multi-day event that concluded with the historic arrival of Pope Francis in September of 2015.
7:45- 9:05 p.m. Session I: “The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor” (Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23) Co-Presenters: Fr. Joseph Marquis, Executive Director/ Rev. Rennie Kaufmann, Associate Director (Main Conference Room)
9:10 p.m. Night Prayer (Retreat Center Chapel)
9:30 p.m.-? Informal Evening Social (Main Conference Room)
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
7:00 a.m. Rise and Shine
7:45 a.m. Morning Prayer (Retreat Center Chapel)
8:00 – 8:45 a.m. FULL Breakfast (Dining Room)
"Wake-Up, You Sleepy-Heads" (Musical
9:00-9:50 a.m. Session II: “St. Nicholas: A Timeline” (Main Conference Room) Presenter: Fr. Joseph, St. Nicholas Institute
9:50-10:00a.m. Musical Interlude, Staff Presenter: Rev. Rennie Kaufmann
10:00-12 Noon Session III: “The Power of Silence” (Main Conference Room) Staff Presenter: Fr. Joseph Marquis
11:00 – 11:10 a.m. Musical Interlude, Staff Performer: Rev. Rennie Kaufmann (Main Conference Room)
12 noon - 1:00 p.m.: Lunch (Dining Room)
1:00-2:00p.m. Afternoon Break (Siesta Time / Private Prayer / Relax and/or Explore the Lovely Grounds of the Retreat Center)
2:15-4:15 p.m. Session IV: Presenter: Ron Wolek, author, “The Professional Santa Makeup Manual.” Professional Hair & Makeup Supervisor (1st National Tour of "War Horse;" Disneyland Training Supervisor for 50+ wig stylists; "Walt Disney World Christmas Parade", ABC TV; 2007-2010), Most recently, Ron provided his make-up talents for the soon-to-be-released film, “Santa Stole Our Dog!”, starring Ed Asner in the title role as Santa Claus: (Main Conference Room)
4:15 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Break / Brief Siesta / Tour Retreat Center Grounds)
5:30-6:30 p.m. Supper (Dining Room)
6:30-6:45 p.m. Musical Interlude, Staff Performer: Rev. Rennie Kaufmann
7:00-9:00 p.m. Session V: “Tuesday Night at the Movies” (Special Film & Group Discussion)
9:00 p.m.: Night Prayer (Retreat Center Chapel)
Informal Evening Social (Main
7:00 a.m.: Rise and Shine
7:45 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Retreat Center Chapel)
8:00 a.m.: FULL Breakfast (Dining Room)
8:50 a.m.: Musical Interlude "Laughin' Ho-Ho-Ho!" Staff Presenter: Rev. Rennie Kaufmann,
9:00-10:30 a.m. Session VI (Introduction: Brief Academy Award Winning Film) Guest Presenter: Fr. Patrick Lowery, “When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear: Practical Lessons from the School of Suffering” (Main Conference Room)
10:00-10:15 a.m. Musical Interlude, Staff Performer: Rev. Rennie Kaufmann
11:00 a.m.-12 noon Session VII: " Make-Up Secrets & Techniques," Guest Presenter: Ron Wolek, Professional Hair & Makeup Supervisor (1st National Tour of "War Horse;" Disneyland Training Supervisor for 50+ wig stylists; "Walt Disney World Christmas Parade", ABC TV; 2007-2010).
12 noon - 1:00 p.m. Lunch (Dining Room)
2:15- 4:15 p.m. Session VIII, Group Sharing: “There is More to St. Nick Than You Think” Group Facilitators: Fr. Joseph and Rev. Rennie” (Main Conference Room)
4:15 – 4:30 p.m. Brief Break
4:30 – 4:50 p.m. Group Photo Opportunity (Dining Room)
4:50 - 5:30 P.M. Prepare for Chartered Bus transportation from Retreat Center to Awards Banquet
5:40 p.m. SHARP!: "ALL ABOARD" (Board Chartered Tour Bus to SNI Awards Gala)
5:55 p.m. Arrival of Tour Bus at Sacred Heart Banquet & Conference Center
Awards & Recognitions Presented to All SNI Participants
St. Nicholas Institute Certificate of Achievement
During the annual Awards Gala, each St. Nicholas Institute participant receives the Certificate of Achievement, appropriate to the respective year(s) of attendance.
Order of St. Nicholas and the Order of St. Nicholas Medal
Medal Fourth year alumni are received as full members of the Order of St. Nicholas, upon conferral of the Order of St. Nicholas Medal.
St. Nicholas Medal of Honor
Upon completing eight years of participation, and after completing all prescribed requirements for qualification, members of the Order of St. Nicholas receive the St. Nicholas Medal of Honor. The St. Nicholas Medal of Honor is conferred in recognition of one’s personal fidelity in furthering the spiritual legacy of the outstanding 4th century Christian figure, Nicholas of Myra; in our own day. The value of committed Christian examples are reflected in the words of St. Paul of Tarsus: “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” ( I Cor. 11:1).
p.m. Arrival at Retreat Center (Informal
7:20 - 7:40 a.m. Departure Prep Strip bed linens, gather towels in room (Laundry hampers are located in retreat hallways). Pack travel bags for later departure.
7:45 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Retreat Center Chapel)
– 8:45 a.m.:
FULL Breakfast (Dining
8:45 -9:30 a.m.,Session IX: Guest Presenter: Catrina Ganey (New York Stage and Screen Actress) “Speak Louder Than Words: The Power of Non-Verbal Communication”
– 10:45 a.m.:-
Session : Group Sharing (Main
Conference Room) Facilitator:
11:00 a.m.: Closing Para-liturgy & Commissioning Service for Institute Participants
who wish to do so (Catholic or non-Catholic), will be blessed with
Benefits to Attendees Include:
7th Annual St. Nicholas Institute Monday, October 1st thru Thursday, October 4th, 2018
Conducted at the Beautifully Serene Atmosphere of St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, Detroit, MI
Registration Will Open 23rd March!
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