Last weekend, a small group of juniors and seniors attended the OLSH Chi Rho retreat at Villa Maria Education & Spirituality Center in New Castle, PA. This 4-day overnight retreat offered students the opportunity to deepen their relationships with their friends and teachers, while experiencing Christ in a real and personal way. It is based in faith, fellowship, and personal growth and is modeled after the popular Kairos retreat. Chi Rho creates an escape from daily life through games and activities designed to strengthen students’ faith.
Students were split up into 4 different color-coded groups and were led by peers and adults who volunteered to moderate the weekend’s activities. Each day of the retreat featured athletic and mental competitions between student teams, talks given by senior student leaders and faculty, free time, prayer time, group reflection, and sacramental opportunities. Students were asked to put their phones down in order to be fully present in the moment and worked on developing a holistic Catholic lifestyle of self-reflection, gratitude, friendliness, willingness to sacrifice, and regular prayer.
Throughout their time at Chi Rho, retreatants heard talks from student and adult leaders who spoke about their own faith journeys. “As students, we’re used to hearing adults open up about their faith, so hearing our classmates talk about it is refreshing and creates a welcoming environment for us to open up ourselves,” one retreatant said.
Chi Rho attendees are encouraged to open their hearts and to see each other in a different light. Students come back from the retreat with a newfound respect for their classmates and an understanding of the battles they face in everyday life. The spiritual aspect of the retreat helps students to grow in their relationships with God and others.
The Chi Rho retreat is typically offered twice a year to juniors and seniors. Students are invited to be leaders by the Ministry Team.