As a Jesuit school, we believe that retreats are as important as a day in the classroom. Retreat programs seek to engage each one of our students on a spiritual, emotional and intellectual level offering them opportunities to connect more deeply with our faith, spiritual journey and relationship with God and others. Students in St. Ignatius College experience Retreats every year.
Last weekend, the Grade 9 students had the opportunity to experience the Koinonia Retreat.
Our retreat theme, Koinonia, meaning Christian Fellowship or Brotherhood was first used by St. Paul in a letter to the Philippians 1:5 which meant “community participation”. This is to say there should be at least two people who are doing the same thing and have a common goal. There must be unity. There must be a desire to do good things with and for others.
The attitude of Koinonia helps us to know that we are not alone in this world, that we are no island; we need each other to survive. In Christian fellowship there is a sense of community which is unity with God through Jesus Christ.
In this retreat our children were challenged to reflect on the people in their lives, the people they know and the relationships they share, to remember, appreciate that each one of us is continuously enriched by family, friends and people we meet in the school community, in our church gatherings and various communities where we belong.
Emphasizing the need for unity of heart and mind, cultivation of a sense of otherness, friendship and community participation, our retreat director and college Chaplain Fr. Laissone Evaristo Matias challenged and continues to challenge our children to become a Koinonia community as this gives us all the courage to say that we need a community of friends in order to have a healthy and sustainable life.
Fr. Matias also encouraged the need for supernatural support, God, in order to be complete, because we know we come from God. As Christians, we become brothers and sisters through baptism. The scriptures give these relationships a special distinction beyond mere friendship. That is because bonds between believers are capable of developing a degree of spiritual closeness that far surpasses the limitations of natural human friendships!!
Many thanks to the Chaplaincy and Jesuit Ethos team for the successful retreat. Looking forward to the next one!