A pillar of Catholic high school life, but one not talked about too often, is the retreat experience. Retreats, a break in daily school routines and structure, create space for a different kind of learning. Students, and often faculty volunteers, take a step back to reflect on the people who are walking with them in life, their own identity and where they see God acting in all of it.

Retreats offer students a break from their routines, often bringing them to new spaces where they can reflect on their lives from different perspectives. In this image, a small group of Donovan Catholic students works in a small group during one of the many retreat experiences offered by the school’s campus ministry team. Courtesy photo

Campus ministry teams, adept at building trust through creative and activities to facilitate genuine sharing and reflection, create diverse retreat offerings that relate to the students’ realities as they journey through their four years of high school. Retreats can be for freshmen or upperclassmen. They can be in silence or nature. They can focus on a specific theme or can meet participants where they are at that point in their life journey. Thousands of young people take part in the retreats offered in their schools each year in the Diocese of Trenton.

Retreatants often share that the experiences transform their lives, becoming a rite of passage for many in the Catholic high schools of the Diocese. The retreats can be vehicles to closer relationships with God, family members and schoolmates, and most importantly, to recognizing one’s own intrinsic value for who they are.

The Monitor is pleased to share reflections from some students from Catholic high schools of the Diocese of Trenton.