Retreats are a vital part of Marian Central spiritual life. All students are asked to participate in an annual retreat hosted by the school. Each grade level talks on different topics. Upperclassmen get the opportunity to take part in a retreat called Kairos which is a three-day retreat where students learn how to excel spiritually and strengthen their bond with Jesus. Many students and teachers help make these retreats possible by giving their time to lead and organize them. Retreats are beneficial to the school as a whole because they give students a chance to grow in their faith while surrounded by their friends and classmates.
The objective of retreats may seem to be unclear to one who has never done one. As Ms. Amy Deitz states, “They provide an opportunity for those on retreats to encounter Jesus”. It is important to keep mental, physical, and spiritual health in check. These retreats help balance out the spiritual part of lives and give students the chance to flourish in his/her relationship with God. “The main goal is to facilitate our encounters with Jesus and put students in the right place for Jesus to talk to us”, Father Jared Twenty states. The overall goal for retreats is to improve the students’ growth in their relationship with their peers and most importantly with God.
The ones that are involved in making the retreats possible put in a lot of preparation and meticulous planning into making sure they provide a well organized and fulfilling retreat. The first priority is prepping spiritually. All retreat leaders including students and teachers go on their own retreat at the beginning of the school year. Ms. Deitz explains, “As a team we take time to pray, plan, prepare talks, small groups, mass, and confession”. Typically, the retreats consist of a balance between games and icebreakers. Student witness talks are talks given by a select amount of retreat leaders who give insight into their faith life and the way he/she developed spiritually throughout the year. The in-depth planning and execution of retreats performed by retreat leaders result in students bonding with each other through spiritual aspects.
The student retreat leaders also have to make sure they are prepared themselves. “Going into preparation I usually pray and ask God to prepare me to lead the students in the best way possible,” Grace Graff (12) states. The retreat leaders agree that organizing the retreats help them grow in their own faith personally. As Deitz explains, “It is a good opportunity to take a break from daily responsibilities and allow God to speak to your soul and give you what you need.” All the effort that goes into creating these retreat truly pays off for everyone.
Overall, the retreats help students form relationships and bonds like never before. They learn to grow in their faith life and how to accept God’s guidance. Not only that, but the retreats help build relationships between students that would not have been existent beforehand. The retreat leaders benefit almost if not just as much as the students in these experiences. The retreats are a good break from everyday life and succeed in helping students grow and learn in ways through God that they never knew they could.