Cliffview an Old Name, a New Face
Retreat center continues tradition of serving God's people
Although Cliffview Retreat and Conference Center did not open until January, 1998, the name "Cliffview" has been familiar to people in Central Kentucky for some 50 years.
In 1951, Monsigner Ralph Beiting, then a young priest in the Diocese of Covington, was assigned to St. William Catholic Church in Lancaster and its missions in surrounding counties. Herrington Lake had recently been formed by damming the Dix River and Fr. Beiting took advantage of the new lake by bringing children from the four county parishes for boat rides and picnics. By 1958 his dream of having a summer camp was beginning to be realized as the main building was finished in time for the six weeks season. In successive summers the camp was expanded to include five buildings. Fifty-five children were treated to the experience every week. Out of this summer camp came the dream of implementing an organization that would offer assistance to impoverished families.
And so it was that Christian Appalachian Project - CAP - came to be. Today CAP has more than 350 full-time employees and another 150 part-time workers; 80 permanent volunteers each year and another 1500 that volunteer for a limited period. In 1988, when the Diocese of Lexington was formed, CAP gave Cliffview to the Diocese. The following year, Bishop Kendrick Williams appointed a retreat center board to bring to life a strong reteat and conference center for the diocese.
Because the original site was limited to four acres, in 1994 an additonal 38 acres plot adjacent to the existing property were purchased by the diocese. Because the property is situtated on a peninsula, Cliffview is bordered on two sides - front and back - by Herrington Lake. Not wanting to be confused with the 'old' Cliffview, yet wanting to give homage to its ancestory, the new diocesan facility is known as Cliffview Retreat and Conference Center.
Cliffview opened its doors to the public in January 1998, nine years after the plans were set in motion for the diocesan spirituality center and two months before the diocese celebrated its tenth anniversary. On this occasion, Bishop Williams was presented with a quilt comprised of squares representing every parish in the Diocese. Bound in blue, it not only serves as the focal point for the dining room where it hangs, the quilt speaks a warm Appalachian 'welcome' to all who come.