As a Catholic High School, the spiritual development of young people is of paramount importance. Retreat days allow students to deepen their personal relationship with God and to reflect on how they can apply the Gospel message of Jesus to their daily lives.
For each class, one day is set-aside for students to leave campus and participate in a day-long retreat experience. The theme of the retreat day relates to the subject matter of that grade. Time is given for input, personal prayer and community building activities.
As new students to Ursuline and to each other, the freshman retreat day is geared to help members of the class experience cooperative team-building activities, listen to inspiring gospel-centered stories, and create bonds with new friends. This day helps ease many of the insecurities and concerns that freshmen often experience. Most importantly this day offers opportunities to pray with and for each other, realizing that we are all children of God. The facilitator for the day is Mr. Bob Kloos of Beacon Street Ministry and Arts in Cleveland. Mr. Kloos says that his role is “To announce the scriptures in a way that engages, enlivens and enthuses those ‘who have ears to hear.’
Sophomores experience presentations and engage in activities that build upon their freshman retreat. Mr. Bob Kloos, of Beacon Street Ministry and Arts in Cleveland, focuses on community building within the class, recognizing the human dignity of each person, and raising students’ awareness of seeing the face of Christ in our neighbor. The day is enlivened with Scripture, Mr. Kloos’s storytelling, “Group Jenga”, juggling bean bags, balancing peacock feathers, puppet skits performed by the students, and a backdrop of music and song. The retreat location, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica, provides “holy ground” for spiritual growth of the sophomore class.
The junior retreat focuses on various social justice issues that students will encounter as part of their Junior religious education course of study, as well as issues that they will encounter in their lives. Some of the topics of the day are: taking care of God’s creation, fair trade, the distribution of power within society and its effects on people from all walks of life and parts of the world, and finally human trafficking which has become an ever increasing problem in the world but more specifically in the United States. Input, discussion and reflection are the major components of the day.
The focus of the senior retreat allows the students to reflect on their lives, to look forward to the many decisions they will make in the upcoming months, to repair relationships and to ask forgiveness. It is also a time to deepen their prayer life and experience new forms of praying, to walk the labyrinth with their peers, who are their companions on this journey to adulthood and to express gratitude for all the gifts they have been given. It is also a time to look inward and decide the type of adult they wish to become.