Campus Ministry once again hosted a fall retreat for students to escape their studies and stresses in order to relax, have fun and focus on their relationship with Christ. Students took part in games, a service project and prayer.
The retreat was held Friday, Sept. 29, to Sunday, Oct. 1, at Camp Tawakoni near Andover. Fifteen students attended the retreat this year, including all six student ministers. They were joined by Newman University Chaplain Father John Fogliasso.
Student minister Natalie Hertel said, "The purpose of the retreat was to grow in fellowship with each other through service and prayer and ultimately grow closer toward God."
Father Fogliasso has attended the retreat in the past and said it “is a great opportunity to get away from the business of life and spend a weekend renewing oneself in prayer, surrounded by great people and enjoying good food and conversation.”
Student minister Peggy (Victoria) Frazier acted as the service retreat coordinator and scheduled the Newman team to participate in a Numana food packing event during the retreat.
The Numana event was hosted at Risen Savior Lutheran Church on Saturday during the retreat. The Numana organization was founded in El Dorado, Kansas, and volunteers across the United States have packed 27 million meals for the hungry through the organization.
"We were packaging dried rice, soy and beans for people in Haiti. Once water is added to the contents of the bag, it makes an entire meal. The atmosphere during the event was upbeat and inspiring," said Frazier.
The event became a competition between each team's table.
"Those of us from Newman had our own table (for packing food)," added Frazier, "and we were competing with other tables to make the most packages. I was very impressed with the work ethic within our group, which allowed our group to complete around 45 boxes each with 216 meals inside. We certainly completed the greatest number of boxes compared to the other tables."
The goal for the day was to package 100,000 meals and a highlight for the students and Father Fogliasso was the announcement that they had reached their goal.
Along with the service project, students enjoyed board games, bonfires and opportunities to build a stronger connection with God during the retreat. They had opportunities to attend Mass, confession, Lectio Divina and had ample time for prayer.
Hertel enjoyed the fellowship portion of the retreat and said, "One thing I will take away from the retreat is that God is trying to speak to us at each moment — we just have to pay attention."
This was Hertel's third time attending the retreat and she said great memories were made. "We played lots of board games, sat by the campfire, and just talked and laughed!"
After the retreat, Frazier stated that she'll remember "how much of a difference can be made by people doing small things together. The Numana event was an obvious example because each person did one particular thing, but together we made a complete bag, and as a community, we made 100,000 meals in three hours."
Student minister Lauren Keith said, "My favorite part of the weekend was having outdoor Mass and Adoration on Saturday night. It was refreshing to be able to sit in front of our Lord surrounded by His nature. Doing this in fellowship with other students who are also striving to grow in their faith only made it all the better."
Keith added, "I left this weekend with a clearer mind, and the strength to pursue my faith with more intention and authenticity."