This Fall I was invited to offer a Confirmation retreat for Resurrection parish in Grand Island. I welcomed the invitation not only because it is my parish, but also because it gave me an opportunity to put into practice the principles that were mentioned in the previous blog of what to look for in a Confirmation retreat. If you haven’t read that blog, I encourage you to read it over to see how we were able to actualize the principles laid out there. Below I will describe how everything came together, in no particular order other than what my fingers type. There was a rhythm to the retreat, which built upon the different activities, but my description here of the retreat may not necessarily follow that rhythm.
An environment can help set the mood and help lead to better experiences. In the case of Resurrection, I took a walk around inside and outside the Church to see what could be usable space for our retreat. Weather and availability permitting, it is beneficial to use multiple spaces, as this can allow for movement which helps to keep the attention of young people. I began the process of visual imagination and looked for ways to use the space we had inside and outside for our different activities. Already knowing that the retreat would include supper, talks, and hands on activities, I tried to balance large group activities with individual activities. For the individual activities, I choose to go outside between some tree lines that were far enough apart where we could set up multiple individual stations. I began looking through the internet to get ideas for decoration, as decor is no skill of mine. I found one that had lights hanging from trees, and as our retreat was later in the afternoon it seems it could work for us. The picture below is similar to what I saw online.
Instead of having everyone sit together, we setup individual station for every student to sit with their sponsor or parent. We set a candle in-between them and they discussed a few questions about how they could use a gift from the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways. This is what it looked like.
We would also use open space adjacent to the tree lines for a bon fire and holi powder activity. At the bon fire, we had someone give a witness talk that related to a song that followed. The song by Hill song called, 'So Will I' focused on God's creation and talked about how He is present in all things. This is what both activities
I will return to how the holi powder tied into the retreat, but for now let’s move onto how I utilized the space inside. We finished the retreat with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration took place inside, only after we got most of the color powder off our clothes and began a spiritual transition to be in silence before the Lord. We had a brief talk on resting in God's presence and proceeded with a Eucharistic procession. Since we did this in the parish hall, the same place where we ate and had the talks, we had to be aware of setting up in time for each activity. Here is how we utilized the space inside.
We also had a little dance to celebrate of our Baptism, but apparently that picture got lost in the shuffle.