Monday, February 20, 2006


Yesterday afternoon I returned from my first - and hopefully not last - Kairos retreat. Attending the retreat as an adult observer, I had no specific responsibilities aside from a general 'ministry of presence' and thus enjoyed the freedom of taking in the experience without the burden of undue concern or preoccupation. I listened attentively to the various retreat talks given by a well-prepared team of student leaders and other adults, and I tried as best I could to get a sense of how the 46 retreatants were doing on the basis of their comments, reactions and overall demeanor. Over the course of four days of observation, my perceptions of Kairos changed a great deal. On the first day, I figured that a retreat experience geared specifically toward high school students wouldn't do much for someone a few years older and in a different place spiritually than most teenagers. My feelings changed as I heard the different student leaders and the retreatants speak about their experience of God. By the end of the retreat, I felt deeply moved not only by how God's love has been present and active in the lives of the students on the retreat but also by how God's love has become present to me in a new way through the students I encountered on Kairos and back at St. Ignatius. In this regard, I was particularly affected by the comments I received from students at the end of the retreat. The students' words of appreciation and encouragement - thanking me for my presence on the retreat, affirming my vocation, and telling me I'd make a good priest - meant a great deal to me. I'm grateful to the students who went on St. Ignatius Kairos 94 for their kind words of support and for sharing their Kairos experience with me. I'm also grateful to God for revealing Himself to me in new and unexpected ways during the retreat, and I prayerfully hope that the graces of the experience stay with me as I continue my experiment here at St. Ignatius. AMDG.


At February 21, 2006 10:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience with many unexpected graces. Isn't it amazing what happens when we are simply present and open to the Lord. Such a gift for both you and your students. Peace, brother!

At February 23, 2006 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a Kairos retreat in the high school seminary. We went to a Benedictine monastery in the desert. I remember it being a really extraordinary experience, but I also remember it being a, um, turbulent time in my life.

I'd love to do something like that again now. Along those lines, I'm looking forward to the possiblity of the 30-day Spiritual Exercises.

Thanks for keeping up this blog--I'm enjoying reading about your novice experience.


At February 28, 2006 12:22 AM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

Thanks for the good wishes, guys - Rich, I hope you're continuing to live the graces of the Exercises; Omis, I hope you have a grace-filled experience of the Exercises when you make them. A day doesn't go by for me when I don't recall an insight or grace I received during the Exercises, and I'll treasure the experience for the rest of my life. Please know I'm praying for you as you go through the application process. Pax,



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