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Retreat is more than a time of rest

First slide

Over the summer, my mother received a letter about a new retreat opportunity that Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria would offer with the other diocesan high schools in September. As someone who generally likes trying out new retreats, I told her I would attend. I figured it would be cool to meet students from other schools in a God-centered setting. I packed my bags with excitement at approximately 4 a.m. on the day we were to leave.


The retreat was named Bethany, after the place in the Gospels where Jesus went on multiple occasions to rest. I expected a restful weekend in which I would spend time socializing with friends, as Jesus did with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany.


I was not completely wrong, but Bethany was no vacation. I figured if Jesus could thrive without an abundance of heated showers, immaculate bunk beds and similar amenities, we could, too. I cannot omit, however, that the view of the stars at night was top-notch.


The opportunity to meet people from other diocesan schools during Bethany was quite fun. We were not afraid to show our passion for the faith as we may have been in other circumstances. We attended inspiring talks, played volleyball in our free time, and shared in small groups with each other.


The unity of a common faith as we ventured into these new relationships made the air, which could have been awkward, much more light and joyful. In addition, interactions with students from the other schools gave us a glimpse into the unique, positive quality of each one.


As much as this extrovert loves meeting new people from across the diocese, nothing can beat the opportunity to have silent time with God allotted in your daily schedule, receive the Eucharist, go to Mass, pray in adoration, and have access to confession. Though this brief description of Bethany does not do the retreat enough justice, I would encourage every diocesan high school student longing to delve deeper into his or her faith to sign up for the retreat. You will not be sorry. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018