At Catholic Central, spirituality permeates every aspect of student life. Reminders of the love of Christ remain at the forefront of campus architecture – the 33 foot steel cross greeting Wixom Road passerbys, the motto “Jesus Christ is the reason for Catholic Central” written above the school’s doorway, and Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament within the chapel at the heart of the building.
It is at the center of every activity, be it academic, athletic, or social. From retreats, optional daily Mass before school, weekly option to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, opportunity for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, daily prayer beginning each day and class period, school-wide and personal Christian service requirements across Southeast Michigan, and a robust Theology Department curriculum, students’ faith lives are nourished daily as they strive towards deeper relationship with Christ.
This past weekend, students from the junior and senior classes participated in the Kairos Retreat, a four day, three night retreat aimed at deepening students’ knowledge of the personal love of God.
“It has been a real blessing to journey with these young people and to witness such transformation in their spiritual journey and to bolster their brotherhood,” said Director of Campus Ministry and Theology Department Chair Mr. Kevin Walters. “It never ceases to amaze me about the battle that goes on in the lives of our young people–the battle between one's heart and one's brain–between guilt and grace,” he said.
Named after the Greek word meaning “God’s time”, Kairos invites students to step back from the challenges of teenage life as they examine their relationships with God, family, friends, and self.
“Many of these young men opened up about the things that have weighed heavily upon their hearts or upon their minds, and find that these setbacks and challenges in life do not define them,” said Mr. Walters. “Instead, they rediscover Jesus Christ, knocking at the door of their hearts and wanting these young men to see themselves as He sees them–people of dignity, worth, incredible value, and loved immeasurably.”
Over the four day retreat, which ran Thursday through Sunday at Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center in Clarkston, student leaders and faculty guided retreatants through witness talks, prayer, sacraments, and spiritual accompaniment.
“It was such a great feeling being able to see and participate in my friends' encounters with Christ,” said student leader Blaise Williams ’23. Guided by campus ministry, Williams and his fellow student leaders each prepared a personal witness talk to deliver to their peers. Retreatant Taylor Stevens ’24 said that watching his fellow classmates share vulnerably and boldly has influenced him to make changes in his own life.
“Listening to [my classmate’s] story and how he got through all the struggles that he suffered was truly inspiring,” said Stevens. “It really made me think and take a look at my life and how I could work to achieve that level of respect from others,” he said.
Theology Teacher Mr. Colin Whitehead ’13 first attended Kairos as a retreatant his junior year at Catholic Central before taking on the role of student leader during his senior year. Returning to Catholic Central as a teacher last fall after completing a Masters in Divinity at the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Whitehead feels blessed to walk with students through the retreat yet again.
“This October's retreat was a powerful reminder to me of how God comes to us through our friends and peers,” said Mr. Whitehead. “I hope that students took home with them the importance of holding tightly to Jesus during challenging moments in their lives and that the retreat underscored how cultivating a relationship with Jesus will help them become the men they seek to be,” he said.
Kairos challenges students to become instruments of God’s grace, embracing the Christian call to service.
“Before Kairos, I felt distant from God and from my faith,” said Daniel Long ’23. “But after being away from my phone and away from all the pressures of this world. . . I finally feel like I fixed my relationship with God and was able to grow closer to my brothers,” he said. “I was able to think clearly of what I was meant to do in this life and found out it was to live and be there for others. I recommend that everyone go, and if I could go again, I definitely would,” he said.
Learn more about faith at Catholic Central: www.catholiccentral.net/faith