ST. ED'S STUDENT MINISTERS LEAD MIDDLE SCHOOL RETREAT EXPERIENCES FOCUSED ON RELATIONSHIPS
Over the last few months, St. Ed's Campus Ministry Department has been working with local schools to provide new middle school retreat experiences led by Campus Minister Ms. Cari White and St. Ed's Student Ministers. With a retreat designated for 6th and 7th graders and a separate retreat specifically for 8th graders, St. Ed's has currently led middle school retreats for St. Raphael, Lakewood Catholic Academy, St. Adalbert in Cleveland, St. Brendan in North Olmsted, St. Angela Merici, St. Peter in Lorain, St. Mark's in Cleveland, St. Anthony of Padua in Lorain and St. Jude in Elyria. "We have an opportunity to help provide something middle schools may not be able to offer for their students.
I think it's important for us to help meet the needs of our Catholic School counterparts," says Ms. White.
Starting back in late November, many Edsmen have played a part in planning the retreats, coordinating activities and volunteering to lead each retreat, many returning to their alma maters. On the retreats, Edsmen conduct small group discussions, facilitate games and activities and lead the students in prayer and reflection while building positive relationships with the middle school students as well. "The best part about leading the middle school retreats is seeing young people in our community willing to grow in their faith with others. Through these experiences, I have been able to better understand my own faith too," says Joey Mayer '19. One activity that all middle school retreats have taken part in is making fleece tie blankets for St. Ed's Labre Ministry. "We talk about how friendship inspires and helps us to do something for others in need. Our retreat leaders who have been on Labre talk to the students about their experiences and why these blankets matter," says Ms. White.
With a primary focus on the Holy Cross value of Relationships, these middle school retreats focus on forming relationships among students while strengthening their relationships with God. "Seeing the smiles on the kids' faces as they improve their relationships with their fellow classmates and deepen their relationships with God is what I love most about leading the middle school retreats," says John Hanrahan '19. "Our Holy Cross values are very important in deciding what to do on these retreats, especially for how we can teach our students to cultivate positive, affirming relationships with others," says Ms. White. "I always stress how important it is to make sure every participant feels accepted and valued. Our retreats focus on friendship, what it means to be a good friend and why it's important to form positive relationships with friends, teachers and other people in our lives. We look at ways to grow in faith and how we can share our faith with the people around us too. It's really cool to see how our students naturally connect with the middle school students and how comfortable they are in sharing their faith experiences with others."