The first Annual Adolescent Advent Retreat was on December 6th, 2018, the feast of St. Nicholas. The adolescents drove to St. Paul to receive what the Holy Spirit had in store for them that day.
They began the day with community and donuts! Then they opened with the Liturgy of the Hours Morning prayer and praise and worship led by a guest, Luke Gion. There were two talks given: one on the origin and definition of Advent and one on What do we do during Advent. The guest speakers were John Lucke and Catherine Wessel, whose authenticity and love of the Lord radiates from their persons.
Catherine shared about the three comings of Christ (nativity, prayer, 2nd coming) as well as how we need to WAIT and PREPARE during Advent. She advocated for not being an Advent purist but allowing the good of Christmas to assist us in pursuing the joy of Advent. She talked about how we are truly happier to receive something after we wait for it, and the same goes for the Advent season.
John spoke about what we should do (or not do) during Advent. He talked about the Little Drummer Boy who didn’t have any “gifts to bring” except himself and his talents. He talked about how the Little Drummer Boy parallels John the Beloved who really wasn’t featured much in Scriptures but always remained close to Christ – laying his head on his chest at the last supper and being at the foot of the cross on Calvary. John advocated that Advent is a time for us to just BE – to sit in silence with the Lord and allow him to do his work in us – to make room in our hearts. He encouraged the students to practice saying no to certain things so that Christ can fill up their hearts even more.
After lunch and community time and small group discussions, the adolescents convened in the Chapel where Jesus was exposed in the Blessed Sacrament for an Hour of Adoration and Praise and Worship. They were invited to write their gifts and things they are grateful for on a sheet of paper and place it in the empty manger in front of the altar. It was a beautiful, sacred time to just sit and BE in front of the Lord and to prepare our hearts for his coming.
The adolescents seemed to have a good day and left the retreat with a joy and sense of community renewed. Many of them were encouraged and reminded of the beauty of this liturgical season and that its more than just changing to purple vestments – that its a time to take seriously for Christ’s coming and Christmas.