Catholic Retreat Center

The Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center is located on 52 acres nestled between the Hiwassee River and the Cherokee National Forest in Benton, Tenn.

Located approximately an hour to an hour and a half’s drive from both the Knoxville and Chattanooga areas, the CPOP Retreat Center was recently acquired by the Diocese of Knoxville through generous donors. The property includes a small church, a chapel, the retreat center, guest residences, and numerous places to pray and reflect outdoors.

Construction is underway with the building of three new five bedroom houses and two additional Bunkhouses along with a meeting room and bathroom facility available for campers or those staying in the bunkhouses. Our newly constructed facilities will be available for groups beginning in June of 2018.  So make plans to join us this summer.

The facility will be open to a variety of groups from Youth Ministry gatherings and Camps to Service Groups and Family retreats to those seeking Christ’s healing mercy such as Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for post-abortive women. Deaconate and Priestly formation retreats will also be a part of the Center activities.  Beginning this fall the Retreat Center will offer customized retreats conducted by Fr. David Mary Engo OFM.

Deacon Al Forsythe, the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese, is the Director for the Christ Prince of Peace Center and can be contacted by e-mail at, or by phone at 865-806-1343 or to reserve the facility for your group retreat contact Karen Byrne at 865-806-3307 ext. 5739.

Fr. David Mary of Our Lady of Sorrows, F.F.M.
Minister General and Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center Chaplain

If you wish to schedule Fr. David Mary as a speaker for your parish, group or event feel free to contact him at (631) 255-0682 or email him at (phone is probably best). Fr. David Mary is available either at the Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center or at your local parish. 

Fr. David Mary of Our Lady of Sorrows, F.F.M., a native New Yorker, entered Franciscan life in 1986. He was ordained a priest in 1997. He is the Founder of the Franciscan Friars Minor, a newly formed Franciscan community in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is presently stationed at Christ Prince of Peace Retreat House (C.P.O.P.) in Benton, TN. Fr. David Mary is available to your parish or groups for conferences, parish missions, youth retreats and more (as a poor Friar, Fr. David Mary likes to work free of charge but will accept any donation to help with his living expenses). 

 Over these last 32 years Fr David Mary has preached thousands of youth and confirmation retreats and parish missions. He has been a popular preacher at men’s conferences and pro-life events. He has vast experiences of working with street gangs in New York, homeless outreach in both New York and Philadelphia, and hospital and high school chaplaincy.  

 Confirmation Retreats, Youth Retreats and speaking to teens has been a staple of Fr. David Mary’s ministries over the years. Besides his time at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries, Fr. David Mary has helped coordinate and form the Youth 2000 Retreat programs across the nation. He has many times been a keynote speaker at youth events and gatherings. He has been a youth group leader and formed the Youth 2000 New England Leadership Team. Fr. David Mary engages the youth, makes them laugh and easily communicates the fullness of the faith to them that makes them want to live their Catholic Faith. He follows what he calls the “Incarnational Approach” to youth evangelization; “You come down to meet them where they are at, and then you raise them up to be the people God is calling them to be.”

 For two years Fr. David Mary was the director of Young Adult Ministry at a Center City Parish in Philadelphia. There in the Archdiocese he formed four houses of prayer and discernment for young adults. Young Adult Mass, Bible study, book club, homeless outreach, and street evangelization were all part of his young adult ministry. Besides coordinating the many young adult events at the parish, he was engaged in assisting in coordinating Catholic Underground and Theology on Tap in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

 Fr David Mary has been extremely active in the pro-life movement. Outside of regularly praying outside abortion clinics, participating in Forty Days for Life and Operation Rescue, he has often been a keynote speaker at various Pro-life events. Fr. David Mary worked closely with Allen County Right to Life in the closing of the Fort Wayne Abortion Clinic.

 Preaching priest retreats, retreats for religious and Secular Franciscans has been a part of Fr. David Mary’s ministries. He is also trained as a spiritual director and for a semester functioned as the assistant director of pre-theology at a minor seminary program. He has taught in the formation program for the Franciscans being an instructor, postulant director, novice master and director of temporarily professed. Fr. David Mary loves to teach and puts his heart into his presentations.

 As a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, Fr David Mary has worked closely with the Knights of Columbus and twice was the Keynote speaker at the Indiana State Conference. In Fort Wayne Indiana Fr. David Mary assisted in coordinating the Knights of Columbus Festival of Faith and Knight Fever diocesan wide events.

 In recent years Fr. David Mary coordinated many events in order to promote the Church’s teachings on marriage, the family and religious liberty. These included organizing the Fortnight for Freedom, Stand up for Marriage and Stand Up for Religious Freedom in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was instrumental in passing the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (R.F.R.A.). Fr. David Mary is also the founder of Shepherds United, an ecumenical group composed of over 120 protestant pastors and evangelical ministers working together for the defense of life, religious liberty and traditional marriage.

 Fr. David Mary’s topics for presentation are varied and adaptable to your parish or group. If you wish to schedule Fr. David Mary as a speaker for your parish, group of event feel free to contact him at (631) 255-0682 or email him at (phone is probably best).



From Knoxville, take I-75 South to exit 52 toward Athens, turn left onto TN-305. After driving 4.9 miles on TN-305, turn left on Green Street, then take a left onto TN-30 or David W. Lillard Memorial Hwy. After 8.8 miles on TN-30, turn right onto TN-30 E/TN-33 S/US-411 S/Tennessee Ave. After 8.1 miles, turn left onto TN-30 East. After .6 of a mile, take the first left onto Locke Lane.

From downtown Chattanooga, take I-24 East to I-75 North. After 34.2 miles, take exit 36 toward TN-163/Calhoun. After .3 of a mile, turn right onto TN-163 E. After 2.3 miles, turn right onto TN-2 W/US-11 S, then take the 1st left onto TN-163 E. After 13 miles, turn right onto TN-30 E/TN-33 S/US-411 S, After 1.9 miles, turn left onto TN-30 E. Go .6 miles then, take the 1st left onto Locke Lane and the destination will be on the left.

Physical address

250 Locke Lane
Benton, TN 37307

Mailing address

Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center
c/o The Chancery
805 S. Northshore Drive
Knoxville, TN 37919


Comments 6

    1. I am sorry Catherine, currently the Retreat center is not hosting any retreats at this time. The Handmaids of the Precious Blood, a cloistered oreder have moved into the center until a new monestary can be built for them which will take about a Year.

      Al Forsythe

  1. Is there a visiting priest that will be saying Mass at the St Anthony Chapel? We used to attend every Saturday morning and really miss worshiping there.

  2. Are there any older single catholic women (by choice)? It seems that there is little or nothing out there for someone like me. I chose not to have children / marraige! I am a devout 61 year old catholic woman and proud of my chastity. Is there anyone else out there like me or are there any retreats in TN for my wonderful vocation?

    Please comment

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