The junior retreat began in our gym with about an hour of activities, ice breakers, talks, and composing prayers with Ms. Zolkos P'15, '19 of our theology department. At 9:30am, we hoped on buses and went over to Mt. Uncanoonuc in Goffstown. Our chaplain, Fr. Richard Dion, celebrated Mass for us at Uncanoonuc Lake using a canoe as an altar. We got this idea from St. John Paul II who used to take students on hikes and canoeing and afterwards, he would turn the canoe over to celebrate Mass for them. In his homily, Fr. Richard spoke of Pope Francis' visit to the United States and his simple message to "Do good."
Following Mass, we had lunch there at the lake and then hiked up the mountain. It's a moderate hike but there are some pretty steep points. I kept on telling the kids in the weeks leading up to the retreat that the hike is easy and they had some different opinions as we were hiking! One boy had a boot on as he sprained his ankle but kept insisting he wanted to do the hike. We stopped at two outlooks, one looking to the west and another towards Manchester and beyond. We don't actually go to the summit as all that's up there is cell phone towers and radio towers.
We hike a mountain as it is analogous to lives of faith. There are times when living a faithful life is hard, exhausting, you want to quit, etc. But, for those who persevere and make it to the summit, there are great rewards.
It was literally a picture perfect day for a hike, absolutely glorious! We were done by 1pm so the juniors got to go home a little early too, a nice extra reward for their efforts.
|The Class of 2017 with Fr. Richard after Mass|
|Fr. Richard preaching|
|Looking towards Manchester|
|Another view of Manchester|