Retreats for high schoolers examine
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
“These two retreats are coordinated and managed by a group of adults from around the Sioux City Diocese with Janet Klein as the director of Search and Discover,” said Laurie Dreier, Discover coordinator. “Discover is for 9th and 10th grade (students) and Search for 11th and 12th. Discover gets kids interested in and ready for going to a Search retreat.”
The next Discover retreat will be held April 6-7 at Immaculate Conception School in Cherokee. The retreat begins Saturday at 1 p.m. and ends Sunday at 11 a.m. after the 10 a.m. parish Mass.
“It has been offered in one form or another in the Sioux City Diocese for about 20 years,” said Dreier. “Each year it is offered once or twice – in the fall and early spring. It has been hosted at several places throughout the diocese all these years.”
She said that Discover has always been a good “entry level” retreat, “being comfortable enough for those who have never been on an overnight retreat, yet fulfilling enough for those who want to go a little deeper into their faith life.”
“Discover examines one’s ‘relationship’ with his or her own self (self image, uniqueness), relationship with others – family and friends, and relationship with God,” said Dreier. “It’s only 24 hours long. Discover provides an opportunity to meet new friends, have fun, participate in small group discussions and prayer in various ways, including Mass.”
There will be games and ways for younger adolescents to get relaxed and meet one another and become familiar with the retreat format (small group activities and discussions, prayer).
“So there’s something for different kinds of personalities – quiet and not so quiet,” said Dreier.
Discover is led by high school juniors and seniors, who have retreat experience, and sometimes a few college-age young adults. There is also adult leadership and supervision.
“Discover is not only a means for evangelizing youth, faith formation, social development, but also serves and important part of leadership development,” said the Discover coordinator. “An overnight retreat experience is something that is beneficial for most youth. The extended time frame allows for a gradual ‘unfolding’ of the process that doesn’t happen in a religion class.”
She added that the retreat is good for youth who go to Catholic schools, as well as youth in parish programs or home schooling settings.
“Over my years of youth ministry, I have seen teens who attend retreats become excited about their faith as they realize they aren’t ‘alone’ as a young Catholic,” said Dreier. “They go on to become involved in helping with retreats of all sorts, parish ministries, service projects and service trips, attending youth conferences such as Steubenville and NCYC, become confident in their Catholic identity in the secular world and participate in the liturgy and sacraments more often and with a deeper appreciation.”
She invites parents, catechists and pastors to encourage their teens to try a Discover retreat or a Search retreat, “even if it means rearranging family schedules and forgoing some other activity.”
Mail the completed registration form, consent form and liability waiver along with $30 (non-refundable) to Laurie Dreier, Discover Coordinator, % Immaculate Conception Parish, PO Box 658, Cherokee, IA 51021‐0658. Make checks payable to Discover Retreat Program. The deadline for registration is April 1. No late registrations or walk-ins will be accepted.
For any questions regarding the Discover Retreat Weekend please contact Laurie Dreier at email@example.com or (712) 225-4466 with any questions, or people may also contact Janet Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The most recent Search retreat was held March 1-3 at Spalding Catholic High School in Granville. There were 23 youth making the retreat for the first time. The retreat began at 7 p.m. on Friday and ended at 4 p.m. on Sunday following Mass.
Search is a retreat for high school juniors and seniors and is an opportunity for them to meet new friends who share Catholic values and morals. Search includes talks given by team members that challenge us to grow in faith, reflect and pray. The weekend consists of small group discussions, prayer opportunities through Mass, reconciliation and adoration, games, snacks and free time.
“It went very well,” said Janet Klein, director of Seach and Discover. “I hope they learned that the Holy Spirit is always with them and to not be afraid to ask God to intercede and help in their lives.”
She added that she hopes the youth also learned “the importance of reconciliation and how fortunate we are to have this sacrament of forgiveness along with the Eucharist when we truly experience the real presence of Christ.”
A number of high school and college youth from the diocese and beyond helped with the weekend. Four youth gave witness talks and five adults presented talks on paschal mystery, encounter with God, reconciliation and Christian marriage.
There will be two Search retreats next school year. One is planned for November at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona and the other for March, the site is yet to be determined.
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