REV. PAUL COX celebrates a Mass at Pyramid Life Center for parishioners of St. Cecilia's Church in Warrensburg; the parish had its yearly picnic at PLC on June 11. 
REV. PAUL COX celebrates a Mass at Pyramid Life Center for parishioners of St. Cecilia's Church in Warrensburg; the parish had its yearly picnic at PLC on June 11. 
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"Whenever I give a talk, I say, 'You own all this,'" declared Sister Monica Murphy, CSJ, director of Pyramid Life Center in Paradox.

The 800-acre retreat center, located on Pyramid Lake in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Originally bought by the Albany Diocese to serve as a girls' summer camp called Marian Lodge, it evolved into "Pyramid Lake Camp" in 1977 when the accompanying boys' camp merged with it. A decade later, Pyramid Life Center was born, offering faith-based retreats and outdoor activities.

PLC supporters have taken to heart the director's encouragement to take ownership of the center; many return each year to volunteer with upkeep.

Memorial Day weekend was also PLC's opening weekend for the season. More than 100 volunteers came from Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York to help with everything from cleaning fireplaces to cooking, turning on the water, fixing docks moved out of place by winter ice, cleaning cabins, mending screens, painting walls, cutting up tree branches, painting the flagpole, repairing hiking trails and even building the foundation for a new yurt that's under construction.

"So many other tasks were accomplished while old friendships were renewed and new ones begun," Sister Monica reported. Former staff, youths from St. Mary's parish in Coxsackie, a Hispanic men's group and many other PLC supporters worked together and prayed as a community for all those who had come to the retreat center before.

"We look forward this summer to hosting the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI) and Breakaway and Music and Liturgy at Pyramid Life," said Sister Monica, referring to retreats that promote Catholic youth leadership and participation in parish music ministries.

The director is so adamant that PLC is a community-driven effort that she told The Evangelist she shares the center's accounting ledgers with anyone who asks, and also points out manuals called "How to Open" and "How to Close" that detail all the tasks needed to run Pyramid Life.

This year, parishioners of St. Lucy's Church in Altamont; St. Matthew's in Voorheesville; Immaculate Conception in Glenville; St. Vincent's, Christ the King and Our Lady of the Americas in Albany; St. Pius in Loudonville; St. Mary's in Crescent; Holy Spirit in East Greenbush and Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake will all take parish retreats at PLC.

That's in addition to parishes from the Syracuse Diocese, non-Catholic congregations, school groups and parish youth groups, families who adopted children from Asia, diocesan seminarians, Catholic singles, freshmen from St. Anselm's University and Siena College alumni who will all spend time at the center.

PLC offers other retreats, too, including a family camping week with a Harry Potter-themed day; a women's writing retreat; poetry, photography and storytelling weekends; a peace retreat; a nature week, a retreat on famed Catholic theologian Thomas Merton, a "Joy of the Gospel" weekend and more.

"Come away to recreate and re-create in the beauty of nature at Pyramid Life Center," Sister Monica invited.

(Learn more at www.pyramid­life.org or contact 518-585-7545 or monicaplc@aol.com.)