Burke Catholic hosts Fearless Retreat for teens

21 Feb 2018 | 09:28

— John S. Burke Catholic High School was the site for the first Fearless Retreat of the year organized by Fearless Ministries this past weekend. 90 young people in grades 8 through 12 arrived at the school on a recent Friday evening. It was a celebration of faith and fellowship that concluded Sunday morning, but for many had a lasting impact.
Jennifer Edwards, the Executive Assistant of Fearless Ministries, says the three day long retreat at Burke Catholic provided area teenagers with an opportunity to encounter Christ in the Eucharist away from the distractions of daily life.
“The teens attend Mass daily,” Edwards said. “They also spend extended time in prayer and Eucharistic adoration, coupled with engaging talks, praise and worship and interactions with clergy and religious.”
The teens had the opportunity to interact with clergy and religious including Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Carmelites, and the Sisters of the Presentation.
There was also recreation time worked into the weekend schedule when the teens took part in sports and hikes as well as friendly games of laser tag and cards.
This was the sixth retreat 16 year old Mary Grace Raciti from Newburgh, New York has participated in. She said playing games like ultimate Frisbee is fun, but it’s the talks, Eucharistic Adoration and Confession that stay with her long after the weekend is over.
“The talks are engaging, and we learn about God in exciting ways,” said Raciti. “It’s just really powerful. I feel stronger in my faith after a retreat. It always stays with me.”
“It’s a great time for fellowship and to grow closer to Christ together,” added Dylan Aiello, age 16, from Baskin Ridge, New Jersey. “If someone needs to be prayed over or is going through an emotional time, we’re here for them, and they can ask a brother, sister or priest to help them.”
10 students from Burke Catholic were among the retreat participants. Among them was 14 year old Brendan Durkin from Florida, N.Y. It was his first retreat.
“I would come to another retreat because I feel like I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and grown closer to God,” said Durkin at Sunday’s communal dinner. “We had limited phone and social media time so it makes you think. It was also a judgement-free environment that was supportive and relaxing.”
Fearless Ministries will be offering 5 more retreats this year mostly in New York State, but in New Jersey and Connecticut as well. For more information, visit www.FearlessRetreats.com.