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Sophomores experience new retreat format

The sophomores recently took part in their class retreat, which was a new format than in years past. Instead of social justice activities, the students participated in a daylong retreat at Mount Saint Francis coordinated by NET Ministries, which stands for National Evangelization Teams. These 16 teams are made up of 175 young Catholics aged 18-28 who dedicate nine months to serving with the ministry to lead retreats around the country.

Activities included community building activities, small group sharing, witness talks, and prayer to help the students focus on their place as beloved children of God. And each impacted the students in various ways.

Sophomore Rosie Kempf said she got the most out of the leaders’ witness talks.

“One thing I remember from one of their speeches was the sentence ‘You are not the sum of your strengths and weaknesses; you are sons and daughters of Christ,’” Rosie said. “This stood out to me because it unifies everyone in the fact that we are all brothers and sisters in God. That is how God sees us, even if we see ourselves and others as our strengths and weaknesses.”

Sophomore Grant Dierking said that the skit touched him “because it woke me up to how I am treating God. After talking with some of my classmates, it has occurred to me that they agree as well.”

Sophomore Allen Kruer said he most appreciated the prayer time at the end of the day. He also thought it was powerful that the team members prayed for each participant.

“It was a very peaceful and somber experience in which I could quietly communicate with God through prayer,” Allen said. “Also, I felt as though the calmness of it all was refreshing from our hectic world. It was a great way to end the exciting fun we’d been having.”

The students also said that the retreat helped their class grow closer.

NET Ministries team members prayed over each retreat participant.

“We bonded over the fact that we all are Catholic and that we all believe in one God,” Allen said. “Just the way that we all experienced this faith-filled retreat together brought us closer. Even the times when we would pray in silence, I believe we all bonded over our common faith. Overall, the sophomore retreat was an exciting day filled with many Catholic-oriented activities that we will not soon forget.”

Sophomore Ali Hornung agreed that the retreat helped the class members grow closer, especially “because we had to listen to one another.” She also liked that the team gave the students the freedom to choose their focus, allowing them to be personally involved in the experience.

“Our sophomore retreat was a great way to grow closer to God and each other,” Ali said.

Campus Minister Mrs. Leah (Cissell) Kelly ’05 said she was impressed with the retreat experience and the work and the faith of the team.

“I was blown away by the faith, joy, energy, and leadership of the team. They led our students in an experience of retreat that I believe was unlike anything they have experienced,” Mrs. Kelly said. “I am so thankful our students were able to have this experience.”

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