By all accounts, the 6th Years had a very worthwhile and valuable day at the Emmaus Retreat Centre. Every single one of them is extremely grateful to Fr Ulic for his very kind gesture in funding the retreat. The day had elements of fun, discussion, reflection and meditation. The students felt rested, refreshed and more positive about the challenges ahead as a result of their participation in the day. Here are a few photos that give a sense of the atmosphere and energy encompassing the day.
An autumnal stroll
Time for a cuppa
Enjoying the day
A delicious dinner
Best wishes to all the 6th Year students as they surge forth upon the tide of exams, revision, practice and study. May their course be smooth, but if not, may they find the strength to surmount the rough winds and rocky waves that may try to put them off route. If they aim high, no obstacles will lead them too far astray. God bless them all.
To retreat means to take a step back. With sincere thanks to Fr Ulic, our College Rector, the 6th Years will have a chance to do just that. The Emmaus Retreat Centre, in Swords offers a programme of reflection and faith development in an environment of peace and serenity, away from the hectic pace of life. In the centre’s own words:
The sound of birdsong and the profusion of wildlife all add to the beauty and tranquility of the place. Here God and nature dwell in harmony.
In the gospel story of the journey to Emmaus, it was while in conversation on the road that the disciples had their ears and hearts opened to Gods Word. It was in the sharing of the bread that the disciples recognised Jesus. Our hope is that those who come to Emmaus will experience the presence of Jesus in their lives as they ‘break bread’ together and break open the word of God.
Let us remember the words of Isaiah, the prophet, as the students embark on a journey of discovery while searching for answers in a world full of temptations and misdirections: “I will not forget you… I have held you in the palm of my hand.” Whatever our path in life, whatever our choices, it is good to remember that we are always safe in the palm of God’s hand.
The 6th Year retreat takes place on Monday 11th November. We will start with Mass at 8.30 am celebrated by Fr Ulic in the college chapel and then proceed to Emmaus to start at 9.45 am. Many thanks to the generosity of Fr Ulic and the Franciscan Community at Gormanston.
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you”. St Augustine of Hippo
We live in a world when being busy has become a pervasive theme in our lives. There is often very little time to relax, reflect and refresh ourselves. Sometimes we are caught up in the daily routine and go about business under the pressure of assignments, meetings, deadlines, exams and the general demands of daily life. Oftentimes the heaviest casualties of our tight schedules are ourselves and our relationships. Because our busy lives can put us under stress, which can be physically and emotionally exhausting, we can fall into the trap of rewarding ourselves with material goods and pleasures. As a result, we can end up ignoring the fact that the best things in life are free and the most satisfying rewards can sometimes be in the form of time alone or spent with another.
In the words of Bono, it might be true to say that ‘we still haven’t found what we are looking for. Hectic schedules, material comforts, multi-media devices and various forms of addictions are all distracting us from the inner peace and contentment that we are looking for. That is why I turn to the words of St Augustine. We will only find peace when we put our trust in God.
One step on the way to trusting God is to take time out. The 6th years have this opportunity coming soon. On November 19th they will hop on a bus and drive away from the stress and pressure of their final year at school. They will have a whole day to leave their troubles behind them and reflect on some of the deeper issues in life. Part of the day will be fun activities, small group discussions and some meditation.
This day for the sixth years would normally cost each student, but thanks to the generosity of the Franciscan Community, the students will not be charged anything. This a very kind gift and we are most grateful to the Friars.
By all accounts the 6th years greatly enjoyed and had a very positive reaction to the retreat in Emmaus on Monday 14th. Here are a few photos that show some of the seniors in great form. (Apologies if you don’t appear here, but either the camera or the photographer had a faulty moment and a blurry picture was produced – sorry!)
“Come away by yourself and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31
6th Years, your retreat is just around the corner. It is a well-needed opportunity to take a break from the hectic pace and the relentless demands of life as a Leaving Cert student.
The aim of the retreat is to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where young people can find space to be themselves. The team tries to help students reflect on the kind of people that they are as well as the relationships that are in their lives; always accentuating the positive. In a non-threatening way the team highlights the link to, as well as the importance of, the spiritual dimension of life. An appropriate prayer experience will be provided for the students. Utilizing the elements of discussion, drama, art, video, personal reflection and more each retreat is tailored to the particular needs of the group.
Half of you will go to Emmaus Retreat Centre near Swords on Monday 14th November and the other half will go on Tuesday 15th. The programme for the day begins at 9.45am and finishes at 3.30pm. Embrace this valuable chance and make the most of the day. Please bear in mind that the Franciscan Community at the College is offering the retreat to you as a gift; students at other schools pay for themselves. A great debt of gratitude is owed to the Friars for their generosity.