“Practicing What We Preach”: Preaching Team is Enlightened at Notre Dame’s Vision Retreat

This summer, the Fenwick Preaching Team went on a five-day retreat to Notre Dame’s Visions Program. This retreat focused on students growing and sharing faith with others from all around the country. The students who attended this retreat were able to experience the Notre Dame campus, explore their faith, and enjoy fun activities to grow as a group. Participants went through classes in the lecture halls, mass in the Seminary, and reconciliation in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Retreatants were assigned to small groups, each who got to explore the campus and share their faith. Students reenacted the Emmaus Walk with Christ and how they could use Christ’s message in their lives. They heard stories from mentors about how they learned to live with Christ and discussed these stories in their personal groups. Attendees enjoyed watching musicals presented by the Band of Saint Cecilia, which helped them to encounter the stories of faith. Throughout the trip, participants were able to walk around the gorgeous campus throughout the day, some people electing to go on walks in the mornings and others exploring during their free time during meals. A highlight of the retreat for many attendees was Reconciliation in the Basilica. They were able to sit and reflect surrounded by the beautiful architecture and receive the Sacrament. This experience was moving for many students, Senior Elise Weyer shares her thoughts: “Reconciliation was the most beautiful thing I have been able to experience. The whole day we were able to hear Stories of Grace, where our mentors shared their experiences of feeling far from God. With the beautiful music and the company of the ND Vision community, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and peace that I will never forget.”
Students were encouraged to make friends, new and old, through fun team-building activities. One night, many groups joined together for a game of capture the flag, while others sang karaoke. The retreatants were able to create lasting memories and friendships. Junior Luis Avalos shares his favorite memory, “the last night we spent there, when we were singing in Latin and lighting the candles, I truly felt the presence of God all around us”. Throughout the week, those who attended went to classes in the lecture halls, where keynote speakers would come in and share their stories. These stories were a favorite for many attendees. These speakers emphasized being in the present, with Be Here Now, or listening to those around us more attentively.
This five-day retreat was a life-changing experience for all those who attended. The Fenwick Preaching team shared their thoughts altogether when they returned, and many said they wished they could go back. They hope to use the messages they learned from the speakers and other students to guide those in the Fenwick community. Luis offers that “if we just spend a couple more minutes of our day in prayer, our whole day will become 5x better”. The team will use the Road to Emmaus story with this school year’s theme of walking with Christ, and they aim to share