Freshmen Retreatants Reflect on Love
Members of the Class of 2020 returned to campus on Saturday, Aug. 27, for their annual retreat. The Freshman Retreat gives students the opportunity to develop in their capacity to be “loving” — one of the five elements in the Profile of a Graduate at the Time of Graduation.
The retreat began with a welcome from the president of Student Ministry, senior Denny McGinnis. Immediately following was the first round of student speakers. Seniors Chris Beebe and Palmer Montalbano shared with the freshmen their experiences of love in the context of friendship. Students were challenged to seek out friends who encouraged them to be their best and to not settle for friends whose influence would be harmful. The freshmen then broke up into small groups to discuss their own friendships as they have developed so far in the year they have been attending Jesuit.
The second round of talks focused on love in the context of the family. Seniors Davis Martin and Jack Quaglino encouraged the students to find peace and support from their families and to seek out ways to be active in returning love to their parents and siblings. Students then were able to reflect on love more deeply during a guided meditation given by Fr. Kevin Dyer, S.J. The mediation accompanied a period of Eucharistic adoration in the Chapel of the North American Martyrs. Then the freshmen again broke off into small groups under the guidance of Student Ministry leaders.
After a much deserved pizza dinner in Traditions Courtyard, the retreat resumed in the auditorium with a presentation on love in romantic relationships. Mr. Peter Flores ’09, the new director of Campus Ministry at Jesuit, highlighted the great value the Church places on romantic love and the importance of friendship as the rich soil for a dating relationship. Central to the message of the Gospel is Jesus’ command to His disciples to love one another as He has loved them, and freshmen were encouraged to see all their relationships in the light of this call.
After the final small group of the retreat, students were dismissed from their meeting rooms into the hallways in anticipation of a Eucharistic Procession which wound through the second and third floors. Seeing the Lord carried through the school in procession helped the students realized that the life of grace is not restricted to moments of prayer or participation at Mass in the chapel, but reaches out to all parts of life. Study, recreation in the Student Commons, interaction with others (among other things) are all oriented towards the greater praise and service of God. Students were invited to follow the procession into the Chapel of the North American Martyrs for the sacrifice of the Mass.
The Freshman Retreat is the second retreat that students make in their time at Jesuit. In addition to growing in brotherhood with their classmates, each student is provided with the space to grow in his knowledge and love of God and is encouraged in his daily walk towards holiness. The theme for the night comes from the first letter of St. John: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and he who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Vital to the formation of students at Jesuit is this call to purity of heart, to love as Christ loves. As the Beatitudes reveal, it is the pure of heart who will truly be blessed, for they will see the face of God.