A letter from our Campus Minister:
My name is Terese Meeks. I was asked to write about one of my favorite programs, the Christian Awakening Retreats. For those who are not familiar with the retreats, Father Rick Bolte first brought the Christian Awakening program to Holy Cross in 1988. It is a youth version of a Cursillo weekend, offered to senior students only. The program started as an optional retreat, but fast became an institution here. We have grown from one retreat per year to three retreats per year. We employ, or I should say we draft, twenty-five volunteers to facilitate each weekend. That means seventy-five people line up, in the name of Christ, to help make each retreat an experience of a lifetime for the seniors. What they walk away with is the experience of their lives. It never ceases to amaze and humble me how these wonderful people give so much of their lives, their financial resources, and most of all their faith, for young people they have yet to meet. The format has been changed somewhat to fit the needs of our students and their families, but its Christian Awakening essence remains.
I cannot help but think of the many volunteers who have helped us throughout the years. Most are Holy Cross graduates or parents of Holy Cross graduates, but still others are from our neighboring diocesan schools. I also cannot remember a single graduation speech that did not mention the C.A. retreat as the pinnacle experience of his/her high school career. I have been here for fifteen years, and those who graduated, who are now helping us, are doing so because they want to give back to Christ the way that so many gave to them. Others volunteer because of the impact the retreat had on their sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, nieces, or nephews. I would love to mention those many, many HC family members who have donated in every conceivable fashion to help make these moments in Christ happen, but there is not enough space in this newsletter. Beyond drafting facilitators for the weekends, we have families who cook us breakfast; a mother who manages Snappy Tomato and donates enough pizza for over 60 people each weekend; families who cook and serve lunch; graduates who bring us donuts; those who donate money or groceries; others who bake goodies; as well as the countless numbers of you who pray for us. One graduate, Jackie Nolan Arnado (1981) told me that, unfortunately, her senior retreat was barely a memory. She wished she had an opportunity to experience what these young people do. Jackie echoed what so many volunteers feel: the retreat gives to her so much more than she gives to it. Jackie said, it’s amazing how teens can be so different with God in their lives. As a parent it sums up all the sacrifice we make in sending our children to a Catholic school. My kids will remember it. I thank God every day that I can send my kids here.
Thank you Jackie. Many thanks to all of you who have helped us year after year, and thanks in advance to those who will be there for us in the future. As we tell the parents after the retreat is over, we have not taught these young people anything new. We are merely awakening the Christ of faith which you all instilled in them long ago.
Thank you for the joy of sharing Christ with you or those you send to us in His name.