A Lenten Retreat with Chesterton Academy
It came as somewhat of a surprise to me that on the eve of what was going to be a free and relaxing three-day weekend, the Lord had other plans for me. My fellow TfC Educator, Lucas T. Berke, came down with a nasty case of the flu, and at the very last minute needed a substitute for the freshmen retreat he and other TfC Educator Colby Cantillon were asked to support in their roles with Chesterton Academy. Friday night I packed my bags, and Saturday morning I was up and ready to go. We met the Chesterton parents and students at Saint Mark's, and from there headed on out.
It has been a while—close to six months since my former summer job as a tutor counselor—since I have been able to work with high-school aged children. It was a refreshing break from my usual duties in serving the second graders at Ascension Catholic School. I was tasked with driving a small group of boys, facilitating small group discussions, supervising one of the two boys' cabins, and leading the "survivor scavenger hunt." One of my favorite parts was leading the break-out sessions in small groups. Being able to hear young men express such mature convictions in terms of their faith life and the message of the Gospel was a real treat.
This retreat was, in a way, as much for them as it was for me. Getting to listen to the Pro Ecclesia Sancta speakers and attend daily Mass in such a beautiful part of the country reminded me of just how far God is willing to go in order to show me His love in such a personal way. Witnessing the young men and women worship in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament at the very end of the trip reminded me of how powerful it was when I first encountered Jesus in Adoration at a similar high school retreat. It was an experience I was privileged to relive.
The last day was spent taking a pilgrimage the the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. The humble surroundings of the Wisconsin countryside seemed like such a contrast to the miraculous encounter of a devout woman who had the Blessed Mother appear before her. And yet, perhaps it only makes perfect sense that Our Lady, possessing a humility rivaled by no other part of creation, should come to such a town as Champion, WI. Either way, it was quite a memorable day, and I was pleased to make it back to the Twin Cities safe and sound, filled with a new spiritual high that I hope can flourish throughout this holy season of Lent.