Youth gather under a flawless sky for Eucharistic Adoration on the beach near St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Middletown, during the Fearless Retreat Weekend in June 2018. Photo courtesy of Theresa Gibilisco
Youth gather under a flawless sky for Eucharistic Adoration on the beach near St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Middletown, during the Fearless Retreat Weekend in June 2018. Photo courtesy of Theresa Gibilisco

By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor

St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Middletown, will once again host the Christ-centered “Fearless” Retreat Weekend May 31-June 2 for all teens in grades eight through 12.

The design of the retreat is “to bring teens closer to Christ and spend a weekend free from distractions of their everyday hectic schedules,” said Theresa Gibilisco, parish youth ministry leader.

Video: 2018 Fearless Retreat

Opening Friday evening and closing at noon Sunday after a 10:30 a.m. Mass, the Fearless Retreat Weekend, run by Fearless Ministries Inc., invites teens to encounter Jesus through prayer and contemplation, interwoven with fun-filled activities.

“Many teens have the impression that a weekend retreat is just a bunch of people sitting around bored, which is not what takes place at all,” Gibilisco explained. “The excitement is enhanced when teens engage in games and activities such as laser tag, basketball, dodgeball, tug-of-war and cards, with priests, sisters and other religious.”

If weather permits, beach time and volleyball will be included. The Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal will give witness and talks throughout the retreat.

“It’s a great way for the kids to reset their faith, reignite the flame and make new friends with fun activities,” said Jennifer Edwards, Fearless Retreats executive assistant. “Parish youth groups and Confirmation groups are welcome; it’s a great way to kick-start a youth group … or get a team back on track, and introduce fellowship.”

“The most unique aspect of a Fearless Retreat is how the teens engage with the religious and clergy,” Gibilisco reflected. “According to many, the favorite time of the retreat is either the extended Adoration time or the Eucharistic procession … it’s amazing to see these teens interact with the religious while both playing and praying.”

Taking time away from the busyness of life is particularly important, she noted.

“[The retreat] is an experience that is much needed in the overbooked, overwhelmed and spread too thin generation of our young people,” Gibilisco said. “With social media keeping all teens connected … the ability to find a moment of silence, to reflect on how to focus on their faith can assist in the greatest times of need, is rare.”