SURREY—The only archdiocesan retreat centre is going to close after 23 years of operation.

Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre, on 152 Street in Surrey, will close its doors at the end of this year.

"Unfortunately a number of factors worked against Rosemary Heights," Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, wrote in a statement Nov. 4.

"Most critical was a decline in those seeking its services. Despite efforts to attract sufficient users, it was unable to do so, leaving the centre in a financially untenable situation."

The retreat centre, which opened in 1992, has offered space for retreats, meetings, conferences, and exhibits. In his letter, the archbishop thanked all staff members, including director Mari Lalana, for their hard work over the years.

"Their professionalism and dedicated service were exemplary, and we trust that the good Lord will accompany them at this difficult time."

Staff, he added, will be treated "very fairly in this time of transition," and places elsewhere in the archdiocese are being sought.

"The archdiocese remains committed to providing a retreat centre and is looking at affordable alternatives."

James Borkowski, archbishop's delegate for administration, said it's hard to pin down numbers, but there were "substantial decreases" in the numbers of people seeking the centre's services.

While no plans have been released, there is hope to open another in the future.

"We're going to be thinking more about how we can offer retreat and spiritual formation," Borkowski said. That includes "learning from other dioceses and finding ways to engage more people."