I am wondering if anyone is familiar with the Luke 18 retreats for 7th and 8th graders? It is being offered at our parish and I’d like some further info as to its orthodoxy, and if anyone’s children have attended…
My parish is one of the Life Teen ‘hub’ parishes, and offers a Luke 18 retreat every year. I went on the retreat in 8th grade, and had a positive experience. It was really my first encounter with a lot of active, faithful, open Catholics of my own age.
The retreat has talks on different subjects (from what I remember… friends (ie, having good friends who will help bring you closer to God, and learning to be grateful for them), family life, and cultivating a personal relationship with God through prayer, taking the Mass seriously, etc. All are very important messages for this age group, and the main talks are supplemented with a good amount of free time, lots of singing, skits, and small group sessions which range from fun to serious.
The high point of most weekend-long retreats I’ve been on has been Saturday night. For Luke 18, this involved hearing a talk about ‘being hurt,’ and then allowing quiet time for all of the retreatants to write a letter to God about hurt they were feeling in their lives. We then got to burn the letters, to sort of release that pain, and spend time contemplating God’s love in prayer afterwords, with the high school leaders there for emotional support. It was a tearful experience for many. After that, we heard a powerful talk from the youth minister about the most perfect example of God’s love for us–Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. The evening was a powerful one for me, and I remember it fairly well, even after 7 or so years.
It definitely starts to bridge the gap (or can, to the more open-minded young teen) between obligatory and deeply personal faith.
I have never questioned the program’s orthodoxy regarding the faith and morals which it teaches. Perhaps Life Teen’s spiritual style is not your own–but it sure is successful in getting the attention of teens of this age. If your child wants to go, I wouldn’t have any concerns about sending them!
Thanks so much for your response.
We’ve attended a few LifeTeen masses over the years. Although they’re not “my style”, I’ve always told my husband that if our children felt at home with LifeTeen, I would have no objection.
I’ve been thinking about these LifeTeen masses with their “hip” music etc. When I was in college, the Masses on campus were all “hip” with great music and a lot of opportunities for fellowship with other student parishioners. There was a lot going on at Mass that, today, I would frown upon. However, in retrospect, those types of Masses (probably similar to today’s LifeTeen) set me on fire for God. Seriously. I am not sure I would have remained faithful t/o my college years if it had not been for the “cool” Masses with the “cool” music and all those “cool” priests and nuns. There were so many opportunities available for us students for fun, volunteering, prayer groups, fieldtrips, etc. I joined 3 or 4 “ministries” per year all the way through college. Anyway, I know many would disagree, but I thank God for those “LifeTeen” Masses during a time that I could’ve been another “fallen away” Catholic.
Just want to add that you should always check out activities that your kids do! I’m sure that there are LifeTeen masses that are out of control or perhaps teach untruths about our Faith…