The goal of this retreat is to help the middle school youth experience the Paschal Mystery in their lives. The Paschal Mystery is about Christ’s death and Resurrection. Every time we experience suffering or darkness in our life, whether through our own sins, the sins of others, or simply because it is dark point in our life, we always have the opportunity to unite ourselves to Christ’s death and Resurrection. Even middle school youth can experience the Paschal Mystery in their life. Whether it is a “little death” or a “big death” we experience, that death leads to resurrection when it is united to Christ. In short, Christ restores us to life through His death and Resurrection and we experience this restoration through every suffering that is united to Christ.
For many middle school youth, this may be the first time that they attend an overnight retreat. Most youth do not go on retreat prior to middle school. This retreat is intended to be a foundational retreat experience for those who attend, because it focuses on the very core of our faith: the Paschal Mystery. The goal of the retreat is to help the middle school youth relate their own experiences to the Paschal Mystery, so that they may see how they can experience Christ in their everyday life. In doing so, just as Christ was restored to life in the Resurrection, the youth may experience restoration when they unite their life with Christ.
The retreat is also intentional in utilizing the sacraments within major sessions. Mystagogy is a study of theology that teaches how the sacraments of the Church allow man to enter into the events of salvation history. In our faith, we do not simply learn about salvation history and praise God for what He has done in the past. In the sacraments, we fully enter into and live the present moment in the salvation history that we celebrate. On this retreat, we will remember Christ’s death on Good Friday, encouraging the youth to die to sin in their lives through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The youth will discover the empty tomb, just as Mary Magdalene did, when they discover that Christ has risen in the Holy Mass. The youth will experience the restoration of Christ’s Resurrection while praising God in Eucharistic Adoration. Because sacraments play such a huge role in this retreat, it is vitally important that you plan accordingly so that you have the clergy support you need to make the sacramental nature of this retreat successful.
Finally, the retreat ends by sending the youth out into the world just as Christ sent the apostles following the Resurrection. Having been restored, the youth have a responsibility to spread the Gospel so that others may be restored as well.