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Archives Diocesan teenagers gather for Lenten retreats

April 11, 2018

By Kelly Donnelly
Director, youth ministry

Lent gives us opportunities to grow in our relationship with God through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.   A Lenten RetreatLenten youth retreat was recently offered so that teens could more fully enter into Lent.

Twenty-eight youth attended the retreat in Lowville March 10, and on March 11, over 50 youth attended the retreat in Saranac Lake.  The theme of the retreat was “To the Light” which was based on the Gospel for Sunday Mass.

After taking part in an opening prayer, teens took part in several workshops that focused on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, as well as the overall theme for the workshop.

For prayer, teens completed a communication exercise that led into a discussion of how prayer is both listening and speaking with God.  They had an opportunity to put this into practice through praying Lectio Divina.

In the fasting workshop, the youth listed their favorite items and talked about which ones they could give up. They then participated in an activity showing that while some of the things we fast from aren’t inherently bad, these distractions can make it more difficult to focus on God. 

In the almsgiving workshop, participants brainstormed ways they can give to the poor, as well as what they can learn from the poor, and talked about the importance of recognizing the dignity of each person in giving to them and avoiding biased thinking about those we give to.

The day included a prayer experience of silently walking through Mary’s Way of the Cross reflections.  In Lowville, the day concluded with Mass, and in Saranac Lake, the retreat began with Mass. There were some break times throughout the day for teens to try a variety of games and get to know one another.

The entire retreat was largely planned by members of Diocesan Youth Council. DYC members helped decide what workshop activities should be done, helped with set up of the day, gave a personal reflection, and led small group discussions.

The retreat days were powerful opportunities for teens to come together in prayer and fellowship during this Lenten season.

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