Students explore need for spiritual awakening retreat

A group of students, in collaboration with the Office of Campus Ministry, is exploring the possibility of coordinating a Kairos spiritual retreat.

The group of students is led by freshmen Erin Neupauer and Efrain Vallejo. Possible dates and locations are still being sorted out by the Office of Campus Ministry, said the Rev. Brian Needles, director of Campus Ministry. However, Needles added that the retreat is likely to take place in November 2017. He said he welcomes any inquiries from interested students.

Students attended a retreat similar to Kairos in fall 2014. Photo via Flickr/St. Paul’s Outreach.

“I am happy and approve of the initiative that students are taking in trying to organize a Kairos retreat. I am very confident that there will be enough student interest to make the retreat a reality,” Needles said. “If student involvement doesn’t happen to materialize, Campus Ministry will look at other options for student retreats other than the Kairos retreat now being contemplated.”

According to reference.com, “A Kairos retreat is a multi-day spiritual awakening activity sponsored by the Catholic Church for high school and college-age youth. The purpose of the retreat is to help the participants contemplate their relationship with God, discover their own identity and build stronger bonds with their peers.”

Neupauer, a broadcasting and film major, explained why she is trying to help organize the retreat.

“I definitely was surprised when I found out SHU doesn’t host something like Kairos, and when I talked to other students, I realized how many people have heard about the retreat and even went on to express how much they would want something like this available to the students,” she said in an email interview.

Neupauer added that they need to increase student interest in the event. “It (the idea of Kairos) is all student run, and I think the idea of young adults wanting to expand their minds on the acceptance and love of themselves and others is something that is inspiring and should be available to our youth,” Neupauer said. “We are the voice of today and we want to be able to unite with others to help us live life and to improve it.”

Vallejo, a diplomacy major, said via email that he wants to bring this Kairos experience to SHU because in high school he was a leader for a Kairos retreat and saw how “the experience was able to help and change so many people for the better.” He added, “I want to be able to give the opportunity to other students here to be able to go through the same and hopefully get a lot out of the whole process.”

Paola Hegedus, a junior graphic design major, said via email that Seton Hall has hosted a Kairos retreat before, but under the name “Ruah.” The Ruah took place at YMCA Camp Bernie in Port Murray, N.J. in fall 2014. She said the retreat “was a good reminder for me and a first encounter for many of us of God’s great love for us individually.”

Around 20 to 30 students attended the Ruah. There was discussion, prayer, fellowship and time devoted to developing a relationship with Christ, according to Hegedus.

Hegedus added, “The conversion of even one person’s heart to seeing the goodness of Christ after one weekend away can create a ripple effect in this world.”

Msgr. Richard Liddy, a professor of Catholic Thought and Culture and the director of the Center for Catholic Studies, said, “Kairos is a wonderful experience of the Spirit in the midst of our lively and loving community.”

Liddy added, “It (Kairos) involves a lot of community and sharing and just plain fun. I strongly encourage students to look into it.”

Benjamin Jaros can be reached at benjamin.jaros@student.shu.edu.

Author: Benjamin Jaros

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