Spiritual development is one of the most important values at Notre Dame Prep.
To achieve the goal of faith growth, this upcoming 2019 spring semester is holding numerous new opportunities for retreats and mission trips
“Going on them [mission trips and spiritual retreats] is important because it gets us away from our comfort zone. New people and new situations bring us closer to God,” NDP chaplain Father Kurt Perera said.
Kairos is a spiritual retreat for juniors and seniors on NDP campus.
The schedule and purpose of the retreat is kept a secret in hopes of students attending to experience it for themselves. The dates for upcoming Kairos are Jan. 8-11, Feb. 26-March 1 and April 9-12.
Sister Yolanda Mendoza is Director of Campus Ministry on campus at NDP. She puts many hours into organizing and planning Kairos for the students.
With the quickly approaching Kairos 26, Yolanda asks everyone to pray for the attendees and leaders. “Please keep everyone in your prayers and hearts as they take this journey,” Yolanda said.
“Like I always say, every upperclassmen should attend Kairos to experience it for themselves; it’s amazing,” Sister Yolanda said.
March for Life
Each winter, NDP gives students the opportunity to participate in one of the March For Life events being held across the nation.
This year, the trip will span over the days of Jan. 16th through the 19th.
Typically, a group of students along with a few teachers and other chaperones choose to participate in the March For Life for a peaceful demonstration against the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to promote the celebration of all life.
Theology instructor Lisa Rawlings, who has gone on the trip with our school in the past, describes the march as “a student-driven movement that seeks to joyfully encourage a vision of a world where beauty and dignity of every human life is valued and protected”.
Last year, the trip was in San Francisco, but this year participants will travel to Washington D.C., which is where the main march takes place.
Along with the March, the trip also gives students the opportunity to see Washington D.C. and grow in their faith through rallies and masses.
“I love everything about this trip,” Rawlings said, “The evening before the march, there is a vigil mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception attended by thousands of teenagers and seminarians”.
Even though the extreme temperature of East Coast winters might veer some away from the trip, those who have gone assure that it did not take away from the experience.
“There is such a sense of joy and hope among everyone there. Being in the midst of that overflowing and joy of our young people is what I love most about the trip,” Rawlings said.
Freshman, Sophomore Retreat
Father Kurt Perera is Chaplain at Notre Dame Preparatory in charge of spiritual formation in terms of lessons taught in theology, presentations at retreats, celebrating mass, other religious opportunities and some administrative work.
Perera is helping with the freshman and sophomore retreat that will take place for the first time this year. “It’s not necessarily a kairos but it’s an opportunity for underclassmen to attend a retreat,” Perera said.
The retreat will take place from Feb 22-24 in Williams, Arizona. “Students will go up to the snow and listen to speakers and have time for recreation like zip lining,” Perera said.
So far, there are only fifteen NDP students signed up. “This is a diocesan retreat so our small group of NDP students will be exposed to teenagers from other high schools in the diocese,” Perera said.
Perera highly encourages more students to attend. “Going on retreats is important because it gets us away from our comfort zone and it’s through new people and situations that ultimately brings us closer to God,” Perera said.
Senior Boys’ Mission Trip
Perera will also be attending the senior boys mission trip that will take place on March 8th-11th of spring break next semester.
“It’s a mission trip to Mexico for senior boys and dads to fulfill the desire to be active and encounter God through prayer and work for someone in need,” Perera said.
Students can get up to 30 hours for going on this trip, but the importance of this opportunity goes beyond that.
“[The service trip] gives us an opportunity to encounter Christ in unique ways. The trips are really fun actually and it changes the way students approach the faith,” Perera said.
So far there are 17 signed up for this retreat, but Perera said he is open to more.
“This mission will allow students to encounter Christ in unique ways by seeing how blessed we are and how blessed the people we are serving are through their joy and happiness even in terms of having very little materially,” Perera said.
Senior Girls’ Retreat
This retreat was set to take place back in September, but it was cancelled due to having few sign ups.
But, since this is one of the most talked about retreats NDP offers, this was just because the chosen date didn’t work with students’ busy schedules at the beginning of the school year.
“We think students didn’t want to miss school because it had just started a few weeks before the retreat,” campus minister Sister Yolanda said.
Now, this retreat is scheduled for early next semester, but the details are not set yet.
Theology instructor Beverly Fraser, who attended the first senior girls retreat offered back in 2017, emphasizes the benefits of this experience.
“What I really like is that it’s young women and all the adults are women so you’re free to talk in a open forum. It’s different from when both genders are there,” Fraser said.
Students who choose to attend can expect to have a strong bonding experience, and may even come back as closer friends with other senior girl attendees.
“To be honest I think it’s a good relaxing time with just to talk honestly about things going on and about hopes for the future,” Fraser said.
No matter the spiritual growth opportunity a student may choose to be a part of next semester, one can expect to encounter life-changing people and experiences.