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Archives Diocesan college students gather for retreat

April 4, 2018

By Amanda Conklin
Contributing Writer

Ogdensburg – Joe Frissora, a senior at Clarkson University in Potsdam, was one of 15 college students who College studentsgathered at Wadhams Hall March 3-4 for the annual Lenten retreat led by campus ministers from Canton and Potsdam.

“These retreats provide us the great opportunity to see that we are not alone in this ‘modern world,’” Frissora said. “We all recognize that there is more to this life than the here and now.

“Going on retreats allows us to come together in search for more, to learn about our faith, and to grow spiritually without the distractions of the world around us,” he said.

In addition to Clarkson, the students came from SUNY Canton, St. Lawrence University and SUNY Potsdam, to take part in the retreat with the theme, “One Body, Many Parts,” based on Romans 12:5.

The weekend started with icebreakers, including a game of “human hungry-hungry hippos.” Friday night also included Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Fathers Steve Rocker, Bryan Stitt, Chris Carrara and Raymond de Souza (of Ontario) joined the students to offer the opportunity for  confession.

On Saturday, the retreatants took part in a workshop on the Crusades, led by Tylor Starkey, campus minister for Potsdam; a workshop on approved Marian apparitions around the world, led by Amanda Conklin, campus minister for Canton, and a discussion on Christians in Syria, led by Father Steven Murray.

The students also made  cord rosaries; led by Ellen Miner of Saranac Lake, who runs a rosary-making business called “Rosie’s Rosaries,” and a viewing of the movie “Arrival” followed by a discussion on Theology and film.
The group attended Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Saturday afternoon and spent a few minutes after Mass admiring the stained glass and architecture of the church.

The weekend concluded Sunday with a workshop on prison ministry, led by Seth Conklin who serves as the prison chaplain for Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone.

Chaplain Conklin spoke about the importance of this corporal work of mercy and how prisoners are often forgotten. He shared some ways that the students could help if they were interested.

Francisca Medina, is a junior at SUNY Canton, who is being fully initiated into the Church at this year’s Easter Vigil, shared how the retreat impacted her.

“The retreat was amazing,” she said. “This is my second retreat since I have been getting closer with my faith and the overall experience was breath taking.

“As college students who look for something different in regards to guidance and support, attending the retreats is something to look forward to,” she said. “Personally I do a lot of self-reflecting which has helped me spiritually and mentally. The students I have come across have impacted me in a positive way. I couldn’t be more thankful for all who have blessed my heart.”

Every participant received a Magnificat, Mass journal, and St. Thomas Aquinas “prayer for students” prayer card. The students prayed morning and evening prayer each day of the retreat, which included chanting the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

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