Living

Masses return to Mizpah starting in June

GRAND ISLE, Maine — Mizpah, located on 129 Doucette Road in Grand Isle, will begin offering Catholic Masses again starting on Friday, June 2. Masses will be offered on the first Friday of each month (June 2, July 7, Aug. 4, Sept. 1, Oct. 6) and all are welcome to participate. The Masses will begin at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Canadian time).

Mizpah is a non-profit organization that is open to the general public, free of charge. The retreat features 15 buildings, beautiful viewing sites, and nature walks through trails winding through 109 acres. From May to October each year, it draws thousands of people including prayer groups and participants in large pilgrimages. Despite being non-denominational, the Catholic influence is easily observed.

Mizpah visitors can observe the 36-foot long Cancer Survivor Wall, a cement commemoration of past and present cancer survivors; stroll through an outdoor and handicap accessible “Way of the Cross” that encourages personal reflection and coping; fish a pond filled by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for children and adults to enjoy; see over 20 flower gardens; stay at one of the retreat’s cabins; pray in the chapel; spend time in the welcome center; take in the many statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and others; and use the retreat’s golf carts to explore the trails.

Created in 1991, Mizpah means “helping another” in Hebrew. The project began with the bulldozing of a large pond area and, over the years, land, buildings, and a pond were added. Funding for the retreat comes through donations and the annual luminary walk fundraiser held on the last Sunday in August. Hundreds of people participate in this event by purchasing candles in honor of a loved one which are placed around Mizpah’s pond. Others purchase a name plate for a loved one to be permanently placed on the Cancer Survivor Wall.

Mizpah is a labor of love started by Richard Corbin and carried on by surviving family members. Corbin was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s Disease at the age of 22 and was expected to survive less than a year. He died in 2015 at the age of 71.

“I made a promise with the High Almighty that if my life be spared for a little while longer I would build a place for cancer people to come to,” Corbin said before his death. “A place for cancer survivors and people in grief to come and reflect, meditate, console and be at peace with each other and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer.”

For over 20 years, Corbin made a daily appearance at Mizpah and was responsible for the site’s day-to-day operations. It was his last wish that his family take over Mizpah. Today, his brother, Roger, is the director of Mizpah and other family members serve in various roles.

“Dick (Richard) wanted to create a spiritual place for people in need to come to and to help them understand what they’re going through,” said Roger. “Spiritual healing is very powerful and the feeling of not being alone as they go through these challenging times is very important in the healing process. That’s the feeling you get at Mizpah.”

Among the many special events set for Mizpah this season are a blessing of the bikes (June 24), a Van Buren Chorus concert (Aug. 6), Acadian Day Mass (Aug.15), the Walk Around the Pond fundraiser (Aug. 26), a bereavement loss and grief program (Sept. 9), a painting program, and more. If you are interested in offering support or learning more about the upcoming special events at Mizpah, visit www.mizpahmaine.com, email mizpahinc@yahoo.com, or call 207-358-8484.

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