Ahh…fall. The leaves aren’t the only things changing; many youth groups will take their teens on fall retreats changing the hearts of the young participants bringing them in to a deeper stronger relationship with Christ.
Kendra Allenspach, Mary Queen of Peace says:
“While I was on retreat many things happened, but the one that stuck out to me and called to me was Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday night. I have been to Eucharistic adoration before, but nothing compared to this. Towards the end, the priest came around and brought Jesus to each of us- personally. He held the monstrance right in front of our faces. I could truly see God right in front of me. I know that everyone always tells you to not worry about everyone else in the room and just focus on God and Jesus, but we all know that most people are looking around the room to see what everyone else is doing. I know I do, and sometimes that prevents me from really having that one on one time with Jesus during Eucharistic Adoration. But that night on retreat, when the priest brought Jesus right in front of me. I felt him and figured out the role that is mine to play. I am supposed to bring Jesus to everyone I meet and "put him right in front of their faces." I need to share the love of Jesus and help others experience God in their lives. I figured out my role and now I need to help others discover theirs. “
Kristen Rosser shares how her experience changed her: "It all started when my friend made me go on this retreat. As the retreat was nearing, my friend that made me go couldn’t. I decided that I should still go. I only knew a couple of people, but once I got there I met more people. At the beginning there was a lot of dancing and singing-not really into that because I don’t go to Youth Group enough to be able to sing and dance with out song sheets. The first night we had Reconciliation. I always enjoy that because I get to let out all this built up stress and emotion to someone I trust. But even after letting out all this stuff I still wasn’t really into the retreat. I didn’t feel I deserved to be there. However, on Saturday night we had Adoration and it was the most powerful, moving, amazing thing I have experienced. The priest brought the Monstrance around to each and every one of us (I had never experienced that). I admit from the moment Adoration started to the moment the priest was praying over me, I wasn’t praying, I wasn’t thanking God, I don’t even remember thinking. But as the priest was leaving from me, I looked right into his eyes, and I saw Jesus. For the first time in a very long time I truly felt loved, especially from Jesus. Naturally because it was so powerful I started balling (not loudly though!). After Adoration was over, my friends were coming up to me and giving me hugs and they kept saying, “I love you”, “I love you”. Well every time someone would say that, I would start to cry again. I couldn’t help it. Because I haven’t felt that way in so long, when someone I barely knew said it, I believed them and I felt it too. I realized I was with people who loved Jesus and were open to new experiences and people. Of course from that point on I had a BLAST! I sang and danced to random parts of songs that I knew, I talked more, and I opened up to God more. It’s going to take awhile until I completely open up, but this was defiantly apart of the beginning…"
Kate Wiley from St. Clement of Rome says: "Fall Retreat was an amazing experience for me,
I love meeting new people, seeing old friends especially
the ones that come back from college. This retreat really
helped me grow in my faith!"
Grace Guyol, a sophomore at Villa Duchesne and Immacolata parishioner, enjoyed meeting teens from Pillar and St. Anselm at the retreat. But, beyond making new friends, she knew that there was a more important reason for attending the retreat – her Catholic faith. “I'm not sure how it affects me right now,” Guyol says, “but I know that it will affect me later.”
“This is what it's all about,” says Immacolata Youth Minister, Michael Miller. “As a parish family, we should strive to plant seeds of faith in the hearts of our young people... then pray that those seeds take root.”