By Kevin McDonald ‘22
On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Brother Rice and Mother McAuley’s peer ministers took part in a confirmation retreat. This retreat’s goal was to open student’s eyes up to God, especially now with Confirmation season coming up.
This retreat focused on kids from St. Linus, as well as some kids from Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School. The retreat was able to help over 60 kids become closer with God. With the help of 13 peer ministers, the retreat was successful in getting kids to open up to others and themselves.
One minister at the retreat was Jack Byrne, a senior at Brother Rice. Byrne was given the task of giving a speech about his family. Jack explained the importance of maintaining a relationship with each member of your family, especially as you grow older in life.
“The kids hopefully learned a lot more about how important family is in our faith and life,” said Byrne.
Another peer minister at the retreat was Tom Lamb, fellow member of the senior class. Lamb gave the opening speech and set the tone for the rest of the day. Lamb was able to talk about his personal Confirmation experience, and let kids know that we all were in their seats at some point.
Lamb said, “Getting close with all the boys was fun because they reminded me a lot of myself in eighth grade.”
Alyssa Romo, a senior at Mother McAuley High School, is an alumna of St. Linus, so this retreat was special for her. Romo, along with Tom Lamb, was the opening and closing speaker. She excelled in maintaining a serious, yet fun retreat for the kids to participate in.
“It was fun helping kids I’ve known since they were babies reach a new milestone in their faith,” said Alyssa.
The retreat was an absolute success. In some small groups, kids were unaware of what Confirmation even was, and some of them were simply doing it to please their parents. The ministers explained that Confirmation was a personal choice, and a serious one as well. By the end of the day, the goal was for the students to accept their faith, and do it on their own terms.
The retreat would be impossible without the help of many. First, Rev. Mark Walter, the pastor at St. Linus as well as Brother Rice, was present the whole time at the retreat. He helped plan the activities, as well as gave a great mass during the retreat. Secondly, Brother Rice campus minster, Mr. Joe Augustyn, was a “key player” in finding peer ministers to be at the retreat, as well as helping students write speeches. Finally, Mother McAuley teachers Mrs. Nereida McGrath and Ms. Laura Snow helped significantly in the organization and planning of the retreat.
The peer ministers hope the students remember what they learned on this retreat as they grow older, along with important life lessons and advice for incoming high school students.