During the first weekend of November, 36 Seton Hall students and Campus Ministry staff members participated in the DISCOVERY retreat offered by the Office of Campus Ministry. The purpose of the retreat was to give students practical strategies for encountering and responding to God in the midst of their oftentimes stressed and busy lives.
The retreat was at the Hands in 4 Youth Retreat Center in West Milford, NJ. Surrounded by 240 acres of woodland, streams, a lake, and much natural beauty, the retreatants learned how to make a Morning Offering to God and how to make a St. Ignatian-style Examen at the end of the day. They also learned the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, a method of reading and meditating upon Sacred Scripture. In addition, the retreatants were offered many practical prayer suggestions, giving them many helpful and simple hints about how to turn to God throughout their daily activities.
For many of the retreatants, the highlight of the weekend was a hike through the beauty of God's creation. During the hike, they listened to a reflection by Stephanie Sonnick, who works for Campus Ministry. Stephanie explained how God reveals Himself in so many ways by means of the created world around us and how we can respond to God's presence in nature.
The retreat also offered students times of silent reflection, including before the Blessed Sacrament. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was also offered and Mass was celebrated.
Both the students and the staff experienced countless blessings and will not soon forget the many graces that they received from God during the retreat. Jen Hobeika, a Seton Hall senior, said, "I didn't expect to grow so much in a day and a half on Campus Ministry's retreat! It was a peaceful, thought-provoking, and much needed time away from campus to re-center on prayer and priorities. This retreat allowed me to connect with other students on their faith journeys, be open and vulnerable about questions I have, and grow in my faith life. I really enjoyed bonding with other students and the team from Campus Ministry, and having a little break from school."
Kiersten Lynch, a graduate student, said, "Personally, it helped me realize that it's not only possible to find God every day in prayer and observation, but necessary for my faith life and continual discovery of who God is and who He wants me to be."
Father Brian Needles, Director of Campus Ministry, said, "We all need periods of time to step back from our busy, hectic lives and turn to the Lord. The retreat gave our students some wonderful suggestions and strategies for encountering God in the ordinary routines of their day. Our goal is to offer more retreats to our students, helping them to grow in their relationship with God."
Categories: Faith and Service