September 11, 2013

Sophomore retreat

This past Monday our sophomore class gathered for their class retreat at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manchester.  Once again, Ms. Foley and Ms. Zolkos of our theology department did a brilliant job preparing and carrying out the retreat which focused on prayer.  They did a funny skit where Ms. Zolkos went around critiquing people on how they are praying (some were journaling, some contemplating, etc) and she was telling them the "correct" way to pray.  I then came in pretending to be God and quoted Pope Benedict who, when asked how many ways are there to pray he said, "As many as there are people."

As I've mentioned previously, our students are bringing in peanut butter throughout the year to benefit some food pantries here in Manchester.  Blessed Sacrament is one of those food pantries and we
decided to have the sophomores bring peanut butter to the retreat.  Before we broke for lunch the director of the food pantry, Colleen Hayward, spoke briefly with the students about their work and told them some things that I think caught their attention and that they needed to hear.  She mentioned that students, including high school students, will often come home from school, jump off the bus and run right over to the food pantry because they are starving.  She also told them that she and her husband got involved with the food pantry because they had to go to it for food at one point in their lives.  They have a child with mental illness so one of them had to stay home with him and they lost a lot of income and needed help with food.  This was despite the fact that both of them are college graduates.  You never know, she said, when you might be in the same situation.  We then brought the peanut butter across the parking lot to the food pantry so the kids could see the inside.  Mike Toomey '14, the National Honor Society president, was helping out at the retreat and asked Mrs. Hayward if NHS students could volunteer there.  The food pantry desperately needs young people to help with some of the heavy lifting tasks as most of the volunteers are elderly so NHS will help out one Saturday a month with that!

Following this we had lunch and we then watched the film "The Human Experience", a movie about a group of men who decide go on three experiences to discover the beauty of human life.  They sleep on the streets of New York to experience homelessness, they work at a children's home in Peru, and they visit a leper colony in Ghana.  We then moved to the church for our final prayer service where we prayed the words of Dorothy Day, listened to scripture, and I offered some final thoughts.  Our final prayer was the prayer "Christ Has No Body" by St. Teresa of Avila.

Our final class retreat is a week from Monday when the juniors will gather for reflections on faith, an outdoor Mass, and a hike up Mt. Uncanoonuc in Goffstown.  The senior class always gathers for their retreat on the morning of prom in May.

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