Cornerstone Alumni in Action, Inc.

'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

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>>> Up-Coming Cornerstone Retreats

Ossining Cornerstone Men are on a REC (Residents Encountering Christ) team bringing a Catholic retreat to Woodbourne Correctional Facility. November 12, 13, 14, 2011 Your Palancas will be appreciated - we'll print them out.  There will be 30 men attending.

Greater Ossining & Croton on Hudson, NY - Men's Team 2011. Retreat March 4 - 5. Looking to His original disciples

  We welcome Cornerstone groups from every parish: Submit your info to
''Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me prison and you visited me.'…  Jesus of Nazareth Matthew 25:34-36

Palanca and its Importance

Palanca: Letters of encouragement

Leverage: the fulcrum makes the leaver, allowing 100 pounds to lift 200 or more.
The little bit of effort in writing aPalanca letter turns into a lift in spirit 100 fold or more.

     Palanca is Spanish; it means to give lift, to rise.
     The word is used here to describe the effect of a letter of encouragement on a retreatant. On a retreat, a new retreatant can be overwhelmed, brought to tears by Palanca from family and friends, but in some ways, even more by those from complete strangers. Retreatants who are familiar with the process, look forward to these letters from their loved ones, especially – when they don’t come, it is quite depressing; this sends the emotions into a freefall.

Receiving a Palanca while on retreat is a wonderful, moving experience.  Writing letters of encouragement and praying for the person is a blessed thing to do.

Please take some time to reach out to someone who is on a leg of their personal journey with God that is scary at times; like any relationship with a loving personality, insecurity is always an issue.  Right at this moment, you are being called to help someone.  Please say YES; you will be prayed for and blessed.

And you can do it from the comfort of your kitchen table.  You can do a prison ministry without leaving your home.

To a man or a woman on retreat, someone in prison or on a spiritual retreat answering this call from God, they are unsure, even afraid, facing their true-self, their spiritual-self for maybe the first time in decades in a prolonged period, your letter, a small sacrifice will mean the world to them.

 Your letter will show the recipient that God loves him so much that God moved a stranger, YOU, to support him personally. 


  1. Palanca means lever.  A lever is used to lift and move heavy things, in this case the Palanca helps to lift one's spirit.

  2. Your note is a note of encouragement.  You know they are moving closer to God and you are happy for them. Example: Attending a three day retreat is a major commitment and shows that you are answering a call from God, that's wonderful.  I know that God will bless you and bring you closer to Him. 

  3. You will tell them that you will do something a prayer or a sacrifice for their personal success and the success of the retreat.  Maybe you'll give up sweets all that weekend, or say a Rosary, or read the Bible.  Example: As a gesture of my ove and support I will read the letter of James in the Bible this weekend, and I will dedicate it to you and the success of the retreat.

  4. The letter should be personal, in the vain of talking one on one, but DO NOT GIVE YOUR FULL NAME.  DO NOT GIVE YOUR ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER.  Other than spiritual, YOU DO NOT WANT CONTACT.

WRITING A PALANCA: Write one letter, or two, or a dozen, whatever you write will be welcomed and cherished.  An average retreat has 30 people, but could have 40.  Keep the letter personal and short.  Each letter should be sealed in an envelope addressed so: Dear Christian Bother (or Sister) of Dear Child of God, depending on the retreat.  Get your family together around the kitchen table and, after the Sign of the Cross (dedication your efforts to God) and a short prayer for the retreatants, start writing.

 What to write: Remember, each letter is to one person, from one person.  Tell him/her that you are happy that he is at retreat, or tell him/her how wonderful it is that he/she is seeking God's love.  Tell him/her that you will pray for him/her, or dedicate your attendance at next Sunday's Mass to him/her, or that you will give up something over that weekend, or that you will say a Rosary for them in particular and the success of the retreat.  By praying first and God will give you the words to write. Keep it short.

 Sign the letter with your first name only to keep it personal.  Do not use your last or include your address DO NOT.
And put the letter in an envelope addressed to REC W-4 Retreatant.

 Place all the letters you write into a larger envelop, or rubber-band them together with a cover sheet, and address that to: Retreat Name (see RETREAT WEEKEND above right Corner).  Then bring that to the Parish Office or the person collecting them (also above).  We assume here that you have been given instructions when you were asked to participate.

Congratulations, you're doing ministry.  Feels good, doesn’t it?

 note: A PALANCA blesses both the writer and the recipient!

Prison Retreats: This retreat is presented by neighbors of yours working a Ministry for local people or the imprisoned who are actively walking their personal Journey with God.  You can give great support and encouragement with just a letter. 
On the afternoon the second day, after much prayer, lessons and fellowship, the retreatants will be given letters of encouragement, called Palanca.  They will go to their rooms, find a private corner and read these letters.  Almost everyone is moved so much that they say this is one of the most powerful times of the retreat.  You see, your Palanca - lever - shows a retreatant that God loves them so much that He has moved strangers to not only pray for him, but sit down and write a letter.

You might want to write a letter like this to an old friend or a cousin, or your spouse or child, or a parent.  Sharing your love in an unexpected way and including prayer, that is, God, is explosive. 

God bless you.

Retreat Weekend

Nov. 14 - 16, 2008
Mark envelopes REC W-4
Bring them to your parish office (St. Theresa, St. Ann, St. Augustine) before noon of Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008

Matthew 25:34-46

Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'

And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'

Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?'

He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' 

And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

God is the seat of unconditional love that i seek so as to fill my hear...It's not that I will start loving more, but that my need is to be loved more.
Emilia Vergani
The Reality is Christ

...I would learn that the most worthwhile thing is finding God in the students that I teach, in the sick that I visited, in my successes at helping others to seek God in their own lives, and in my failures to serve God as faithfully as I desire...

Mark Mossa, S.J
(This is very Cornerstone.)

About Cornerstone | Things to Read | Events | Retreats | Service | Our Parishes | Links | Join us

 This site is operated by Cornerstone Alumni in action, inc.
located in the Hudson River Valley, Westchester County, New York

Our goal for is to represent and be an outlet for every Cornerstone Alumni, male and female.  We will publish spiritual writing, reports on ministries, etc.