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Archives Teens are ‘reawakened’ at diocesan Lenten retreats

April 19, 2017

By Kelly Donnelly
Diocesan director of youth ministry

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”  Pope Francis’ comment served as Reawakenedthe theme for Youth Lenten Retreat, Reawaken.

Thirty-four youth gathered in Malone on March 25 and 60 youth gathered in Canton on March 26 for a day of prayer, reflection, workshops, and fun.

After taking part in an opening prayer reflection, teens took participated in several workshops focused on the theme.  They took part in a blindfolded taste-test and discussed ways we are blind to God’s will and how to reawaken ourselves to the truth of God’s love. 

Another workshop focused on teens reading, re-enacting, and discussing the Matthew’s account of the blind men healed. 

The third workshop involved teens playing a version of The Price is Right and discussing how society assigns value, compared with the inherent dignity of each person that we understand from Scripture. 

During break times, a variety of games were offered, as well as a table run by Vocations Office Coordinator, Cathy Russell.

Teens enjoyed the chance to spend time with new and old friends alike, playing Frisbee, Jenga, and a basketball headband game, among others.

The teens took part in several prayers throughout the day.  One of the prayer experiences youth took part in was the Seven Sorrows of Mary.  Youth meditated on Scripture and reflections from Catholic Relief Services while viewing a variety of depictions of the Sorrows.  The concluding prayer for the day gave youth a chance to prayerfully consider a quote from Scripture or a saint and offer up prayer intentions.  The retreat concluded with Mass with the parish communities.

Not only did Diocesan Youth Council members take part in planning parts of the workshops that were conducted, but they also took part in facilitating various aspects of the retreat.  DYC members prepared brief testimonies about their personal lives or a saint that they admire that related to the theme. 

Additionally, members helped in leading small group discussions, as well as the set-up and clean-up of materials.

The responses from participants and DYC members was positive.

Olivia Ellis, a sixth-grader in Tupper Lake, was a participant of the Malone retreat.  She commented that the retreat was “really fun and interesting” and that the retreat “made Lent understandable.”  Her favorite parts of the day were “the games and things we did and praying the Seven Sorrows of Mary while we looked at the pictures -- I hadn’t ever heard of the Seven Sorrows of Mary before.” 

Hans Xu, a member of Diocesan Youth Council and a senior at Seton Catholic in Plattsburgh, commented, “The Lenten retreat went just as planned!  It was nice to see so many young Catholics from the diocese take this wonderful opportunity and dedicate their day to God.  After all, that’s what Lent is!”

For the 100 youth who attended the Lenten youth retreats, they had an opportunity to be reawakened to the reality of God’s love for us through this day of reflection.

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