Students from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School were able to take time out from their busy lives to reflect upon themselves, their hopes and dreams and their relationships with those around them when they took part in a year group retreat.
The retreat gave the Year 9 pupils the time to develop their relationships with one another, focus on prayer and reflection and it also allowed them to work as a team during various games, activities and role plays so supporting the pupils on both their physical and spiritual journeys throughout Saint Paul’s.
The retreat provided a break from the routine of everyday school activities, where the young people were given the opportunity to look deeply at their own lives and the nature of their own belief. This was done through games, discussion, craft-activities, prayer and liturgy.
The theme of the retreats was “Set in Stone”, in which the pupils explored the theme of having strong foundations with their peers and looked at the relationships in their lives that sustain us and give us strength. The pupils explored the theme through a number of activities including reflecting on the story from Matthew’s Gospel in which Jesus taught us about building our houses on the rock rather than the sand, giving us a message of having resilience in hard times, like a house that has resilience from being built on a rock. The Church is our rock and we can build strength through this community.
The pupils completed a reflection activity in which they asked God for a prayer for both themselves and for others around them. They then painted rocks, to show the metaphor of building on strong foundations and our faith. Amongst this, they played games and completed activities that related to resilience and strong faith.
“The pupils spent time reflecting on their time at Saint Paul’s so far, focusing on the strong foundations of the friendships they had formed, the difficulties they have faced and the strengths and talents they have celebrated,” explained Mr Harrison Kilburn, Lay Chaplain at Saint Paul’s. “We were able to give the pupils a positive faith experience in an atmosphere of welcome, friendship and respect, in the hope that each individual will be able to focus on God and their potential for spiritual growth.”
Mr Mike Whiteside, Deputy Headteacher, said: “The pupils had a very enriching time, giving them the opportunity to evaluate what is important to them and to reflect on their roles in the school community and society. They were able to enhance their appreciation of spiritual values and consider the role that Christ does and can play in their lives.”