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Taking faith to heart

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Eugenia Dominguez-Chaires

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Boys Tennis
March 17, 2018
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Taking faith to heart

During her freshmen retreat last week, Natalia Dominguez 22’ participated in the oreo game, eating her way to victory.

During her freshmen retreat last week, Natalia Dominguez 22’ participated in the oreo game, eating her way to victory.

Photo by Eugenia Domingeuz-Chaires

During her freshmen retreat last week, Natalia Dominguez 22’ participated in the oreo game, eating her way to victory.

Photo by Eugenia Domingeuz-Chaires

Photo by Eugenia Domingeuz-Chaires

During her freshmen retreat last week, Natalia Dominguez 22’ participated in the oreo game, eating her way to victory.

Cathedral Catholic High School student Carly Davila ’22 knows deepening her faith requires taking action and discovering one’s purpose.

“I believe that my gift is to help others,” Davila said. “I know that most freshman are very insecure, scared, and intimidated starting at a new school and meeting new people. I know that I can be there for those people and help them with whatever they need weather it is making new friends, or just having somewhere and someone to sit at lunch with.”

To help other freshmen discover their spiritual purposes, the Cathedral Catholic High School senior campus ministers assisted freshmen deepened their faith on campus last week, learning how their gifts can change the world during a fun-filled day complete with Mass, interactive games, and a faith talk by guest speaker Jamie Cleaton, a nationally-recognized youth minister who encourages students to deepen their relationships with God.

The freshman retreat marks the beginning of a CCHS student’s high school faith journey.

However, CCHS mission and ministry faculty during previous years noticed freshmen tend to feel overwhelmed when faith is presented in a bold manner, especially at the first retreat. As a result, the faculty put their efforts this year into introducing a variety of fun activities at the retreat in conjunction with faith-based activities.

“We tried to implement faith into the retreat in chunks and pieces so we wouldn’t overwhelm them in their first few weeks as a high school student,” freshman retreat leader James Walsh ‘19 said. “I know that we succeeded because after school I went down to the locker room, and [I] had three freshmen come up to me and thank me for making them comfortable at the retreat.”

The day began with an ice breaker, proceeding to games planned by seniors on the football field. Freshmen bonded through a variety of activities, including the Oreo game, human knot, and duck-duck goose.

“The games and the reflection times were awesome,” Davila said. “I made tons of new friends [who] were very kind, considerate, and friendly, and I hope to see in the halls or at lunch.”

The fun activities transitioned into the more serious faith-focused side of the retreat, which was organized around a guest speaker and Mass. Cleaton, the guest speaker, spoke to the freshmen in the theater, giving them the same talk that was once given to seniors four years ago.

“You guys have to find your purpose,” Cleaton said. “You need to find out what God created you. Once you find that talent or gift, that’s when you begin living fully.”

This retreat was not only special for the freshmen, but also for the seniors, who reflected on their faith journeys and time at CCHS.

“When the speaker gave the inspirational talk, it touched me in the same way it did four years ago,” campus minister Morgan Tantalo ‘19 said. “I was able to really reflect on everything I’ve experienced at CCHS, and I think it was such a great message for the freshmen to hear early on as they begin high school.”

Freshmen and their senior campus ministers came together in the Saint Therese Chapel to experience God’s presence.

“At Mass, you could just feel this unity with everyone in the chapel,” CCHS religion teacher Ms. Marie Lopez said. “I think that was really where the freshmen reflected on how their gifts can change the world.”

The retreat ended with reflection time and theater activities.

During reflection time, senior campus ministers offered advice on their experience, and they asked the freshmen to share their faith journeys, gifts, and feelings.

Retreat leader Bella Palacios ’19 stressed how faith is something that needs to be shared on campus.

“Some faith advice that we gave to freshman is to not be worried if their faith life isn’t exactly where he/she wants it to be,” Palacios 19’ said. “Over the years as they mature, they’ll start taking their faith more seriously and find themselves getting more involved in their faith. Be open to the Lord and if there are events that are being held on campus like XLT nights or praise and worship nights… attend them.”

Finally, the freshmen wrote letters to themselves that are given back to them at graduation.

“It was amazing to see how serious the freshmen got,” campus minister Kirra Fazio 19’ said. “We told them to be honest and real with their letters.

“They really took it to heart.”

 

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Taking faith to heart