Modified retreats promise fun experiences for students

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photo by Samantha Landaverde

Audrey Donaldson, Reporter

Every school year the students at BCHS start off the year with a grade-wide retreat. For many, these retreats are a fun way to strengthen their relationship with God and with their classmates. This year’s retreats have been altered due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean they are any less powerful. Mr. Joel Kelley, the new student ministry leader, said, “The truth is that much of the retreats are the same. We are still learning to trust in the Lord; we are still coming together with our classmates to pray and play; we are still “retreating” from our busy schedules to be human beings, not humans doing.” Although a few parts of the retreats have been changed, the students are still coming together to celebrate their faith.       

Mr. Kelley and Mr. Steven Patzke are trying their best to make retreat fun, but also a safe environment for everyone. Mr. Kelley said, “The main differences that we will see on retreats are the same differences we see at school, church, and other places: masks, social distancing, and a lot of hand sanitizer. Most of our adjustments are COVID-related precautions that we are taking to keep students (and everyone else) safe.” Due to COVID-19, the grandparents’ mass had to be cancelled as a precaution for the grandparents safety. Grandparents mass has always been a part of Freshman retreat; as a way to set the tone for the rest of the day of reflection. Other changes to retreats are the sophomore retreats were moved to BCHS, instead of CYO Camp Rancho Framasa. However, some of the CYO staff got to come to BCHS and join them on their day of reflection. 

Some of these changes made to the retreat programs are going to be temporary, and some might be permanent. While students hope that next year the world will have a sense of normalcy, these changes might become permanent if there is not any improvement. Mr.Kelley said, “Most of what we have done so far this year is the same as last year, not counting the COVID contingencies. Something that I really hope is temporary is the wearing of masks and the practicing of social distancing.” The planned temporary changes are having grandparents day mass, going to Camp Rancho Framasa, and having to wear masks and stay socially distant. Next year they hope that the grades will be able to have their retreats together, instead of having to split them up into two days. Mr. Kelley said, “Even in the midst of difficult change, Campus Ministry and all of our wonderful retreat leaders made the days prayerful, reflective, safe, and fun. And that’s something I’m extremely excited about and grateful for.”

The junior retreat is overnight and typically takes place at St. Meinrad Seminary for boys and The Benedict Inn for girls. The senior retreat is also overnight and takes place at Fatima Retreat House. These retreats are anticipated by students. “The junior and senior retreats are scheduled for the spring, and, God willing, we will be able to do those in a way similar to how they’ve been done in years past; ultimately, it depends on COVID and the best steps we can take to keep people safe. For now, we have to wait and pray,” said Mr. Kelley.