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Students gather for a picture on the final day of the Kairos retreat. (Photo: Father Wegenka)
Along with being recognized as a leading academic institution, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory is a Catholic school which helps students to connect with God and grow spiritually in their faith. Strake students often attend Mass at the school and also study Theology. However, many students will say that their most powerful spiritual growth happens on retreats. Every year, students are required to go on a grade-specific retreat for a shared experience among classmates.
Most students say is their favorite is the junior retreat, Kairos. Kairos’ name comes from ancient Greece, which had two words for time: chronos (chronological, sequential time) and kairos (an opportune time for action). During the four-day, three-night retreat, students are meant to experience Kairos, God’s time. Students have an opportunity to step back and look at their faith and the relationships in their lives through small group discussions, reflection time and journaling.
Theology teacher Carlos Barboza lights a candle for a student. (Photo: Father Wegenka)
The brotherhood between Jesuit classmates is also strengthened on Kairos. My retreat roommate, Robert Gonsoulin, said, “I thought the retreat was very eye-opening to my faith in God and was an experience that gave me a closer relationship to my grade as a whole.”
The retreat is held at the 66-acre Strake Jesuit Retreat and Leadership Center, which is more than two hours north of Houston in Leon County. Donated to the school in 2012, the land has been a great addition to Jesuit’s retreat program. Fellow classmate Luke Botard said, “The facilities are great. Everything is so nice, from the cabins to the chapel. The grounds are really nice and everyone does a great job of keeping it clean. They even have a basketball court as well as a pond to fish in.”
While this change of scenery allows students to have fun, being away from everything presents them with an even greater opportunity to focus on spirituality and community. For a few days, Strake Jesuit students put their daily routine of academics, athletics and activities on hold, maximizing this quality time to strengthen their relationship with God as well as with one another.