Students delve deeper into their faith at the junior retreat.




He listens to the testimonies; he looks at his leader’s relationship with God and looks at his. He is now willing to open up, overcome his hesitation and reveal himself. He gains not only love from God, but from those around him.

“When I first left for the retreat, my goal was to find God again because I wasn’t really feeling him that much up until that point,” said junior Brendan Myers. “What I realized and came to terms with on this retreat though was that God had never left me, but rather I had left God. I realized that to find God again, I was the one that needed to reconcile myself with Him.”

At junior retreat, from Oct. 12-14, students got to share in spiritual experiences through interacting with their peers and leaders. The theme for junior retreat is Unstoppable, so students focused on how God inspires them to be “unstoppable.” The retreat was structured around St. Paul’s conversion and how Catholics are blinded in their relationship with God.

Many juniors have gone on previous retreats, and recommend Unstoppable. From Eucharistic adoration t

o mass, the unity of the SMCHS community is alive. The rejuvenation of God fulfilling their lives is new and exciting, but also necessary.

“I have made bonds and friendships with people that I have never met,” said junior Chadi Tarazi. “That is a priceless gift that only this retreat could have given me. As for the people that were my prior friends, our relationship changed to a point where I can see them as true, great friends. ”

A common misconception is that you have to be Catholic or you won’t enjoy the reach as much, but that is the exact opposite of what happens. Tarazi, who is not a Catholic, went and had an amazing time learning about the faith and experiencing the unity of the teens.

Like XLT worship sessions, prayer through music was incorporated and moments to reflect in silence were crucial. Despite the religious aspect of the retreat, there was a time for fun, like racing down water slides to doing the “Leap of Faith.”

Leaders, like senior Maggie Jennison, were able to experience God even though they were leading small groups. Jennison’s personal testimony gave her the opportunity to inspire the retreaters to open up, accept their struggles and embrace God.

“I gave a testimony [on my faith], and it definitely helped me grow closer to God,” Jennison said. “I talked about why I love God and basically what made me realize how much I loved Him. It was cool because I said things in my talk that I didn’t plan on saying, and I believe that that was God speaking through me.”

Junior Alexandria Gonzalez’s relationship with faith changed immensely. From just being in religion class and living through the motions wasn’t enough for Gonzalez. By opening up to her small group, she understands that God has a path for her, and everything happens for a reason.

“My leader told [our group] God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers,” Gonzalez said.

Though life gets filled with responsibilities and business, the juniors were able to get a break from homework, drama, and other stressors. Their focus was on one thing: God.