Yesterday we kicked off our retreat season with the freshman retreat. We hold their retreat on the first Monday of the school year as a way to introduce them to the school, each other, and to our shared faith. We held this year's retreat at Saint Anthony's Church and School here in Manchester.
We began by attending the 8:00am Mass at the parish where our chaplain, Father Richard Dion, is the pastor. Father Richard celebrated the Mass and urged the freshmen not to just learn knowledge about Math, Science, etc. at Trinity but rather to come to know the information more deeply, to come to know each other, and ultimately to come and know Jesus Christ. He also spoke to the students after Mass explaining that Saint Anthony's Church was built in the shape of a boat (the ceiling looks like the bottom of a boat) and the bell tower as an anchor. He gave an analogy of the boat and the anchor to our faith but I must confess it totally slipped my mind as I type this!!
From here we went over to the school gym where Ms. Foley and Ms. Zolkos along with some members of the junior and senior class helped conduct the retreat. I had to run back to Trinity to teach my classes and returned in time for a fun project. The students created bricks out of paper and wrote their talents and abilities on them. They then used the bricks to construct a building with "Jesus" written on the cornerstone. The idea was that as a Christian community, we all use our gifts and talents to build our community with Christ as the cornerstone. If He is removed, the whole thing comes tumbling down (which they showed by removing the cornerstone).
The students then broke for lunch and after lunch I showed the film "We Have a Table for Four Ready - The Story of Saint Francis Inn." Saint Francis Inn, of course is a meal center in Philadelphia that we take students to each summer. I like to show this to give an example of the works of mercy we perform at Trinity and how we are called to serve the least of our brothers and sisters. Finally, we moved to the church where we prayed some words of St. John Paul II, listened to a scripture reading, and I offered a reflection. My reflection was pretty much the same as the one I gave to the upperclassmen last week about Michael Griffin, James Foley, and Liam Quinn '15.
In all, the day went off without a hitch and the freshmen were amazing. They participated well and paid very close attention. I think we're off to a good start!