Diocese to shutter 2 retreat centers in Va.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond plans to close retreat centers in Lynchburg and Smithfield by the end of the year.

Retreat centers in Abingdon and Hanover County will remain open.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo says in a statement that the decision came after a study of the centers’ administrative, financial and pastoral viability.

The diocese says factors in the decision to close the Lynchburg and Smithfield centers include their location and anticipated future capital needs.

The diocese also says parishes are using their own facilities for day-long retreats and meetings. They also are using the Pastoral Center, which is larger than the retreat centers.

Diocese spokeswoman Diana Sims Snider tells The Virginian-Pilot that the diocese had tried to help the Lynchburg and Smithfield centers become viable.

Prisoners in Kentucky work with horses

The brown, white and black horses poking their heads out of their stalls in the barn would make any visitor forget they’re at a prison.

That’s what Anthony Smith, an inmate at Blackburn Correctional Complex, says he likes about the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s program that allows inmates to work with horses. Smith says it “gets you out of the prison state of mind.”

Inmates at the state minimum-security prison recently showcased their new talents and explained the program to people who sponsor horses at the facility, the media and members of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, a group that focuses on taking care of retired racehorses, many of whom are at the end of their lives and not suited to new careers as riding or pleasure horses.

Associated Press