We began our session with Mass said by Fr. Joe in the Chapel. During Mass, participants enjoyed music played by Craig Colson.
Within their small groups, participants offered words of affirmation to each other and participated in a survey to provide feedback on the Rooted program.
We learned about the Holy Spirit, grace, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit through an activity and a lesson.
Small groups participated in a review game/relay race consisting of many various obstacles and competed to win Sweet Frog gift cards.
We ate dinner while watching a slideshow of photos from the year.
Everyone attended an interactive concert given by Craig Colson.
Chapter 17: The Holy Spirit
Chapter 18: Grace and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
This session focused on Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension.
Within their small groups, participants looked at various artwork depicting the Resurrection and Ascension and discussed the different aspects and what stood out most to them in these pictures.
We discussed the Corporal Works of Mercy and how to live these out in everyday life.
Participants engaged in a skit about the Final Judgement from Matthew’s Gospel and talked about how this passage offers a very specific message about how we are to act and treat others.
We watched a video clip from the SJN Baptismal Liturgy of the Great Easter Vigil this year and talked about Baptism (see video page).
We learned some about Mary Magdalene.
Participants made cards to be given to individuals attending a retreat for people with a serious illness as a way to follow the call to “visit the sick”.
Chapter 16: The Resurrection of Jesus
This session focused on Christ’s Passion.
We watched a music video (by Craig Colson who will be performing a concert at our closing retreat) focused on Jesus’ life and ministry during the opening (see video page).
We talked about the significance of Triduum.
Within their small groups, participants looked at various artwork depicting the Crucifixion and discussed the different aspects and what stood out most to them in these pictures.
Participants learned about the Last Super and ate a small snack together (pita and grape juice) in remembrance of the Last Supper.
Participants prayed the Stations of the Cross together (in a format that utilized current music clips) and learned more about the great significance of this prayer.
Chapter 15: The Death of Jesus
Participants talked about Lent and everyone received a Lenten calendar with suggested activities to assist in growing in faith during this important season.
Everyone did an examination of conscience during their small group times.
We discussed the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the various components of this sacrament, instructional reminders of what to do during Confession, and watched a short video on the Scriptural roots of this wonderful sacramental gift (see video page).
We had a Reconciliation service where participants were invited to speak with a priest for confession and receive the sacrament. Despite some nervousness, most participants chose to receive this sacrament and expressed positive feelings afterward.
Participants engaged with a skit surrounding the story of Zacchaeus and talked about this important story of forgiveness and conversion.
Chapter 14: Jesus Heals
We began our opening by praying the Hail Mary.
Participants learned about the Hypothermia Shelter that SJN participates in each year and the population it serves. (Some sessions heard from a Hypothermia Shelter coordinator.)
We watched a short visit about the Annunciation and looked at large depictions of the Nativity scene as we discussed the birth of Christ and the events leading up to His birth (see video page).
Each group engaged in a service project by working together to create a prayer blanket to be given to someone in need.
Everyone participated in a silent meditation accompanied by music videos and an opportunity to color Mary themed art (see video page).
We discussed the tradition of gift-giving and participants each received a surprise treat in their shoe or backpack.
We talked about the life of Jesus and the many ways He acts as a teacher.
We discussed Jesus as a model of friendship and role played various scenarios between friends and brainstormed how Jesus would act.
We ended with a prayer service and a blessing of the prayer blankets. (Most sessions were joined by one of our priests who helped with blessing the blankets.)
“B” week sessions received a Lenten calendar containing daily “challenges”. “A” sessions will receive this during Session #7.
Chapter 12: The Birth of Jesus
Chapter 13: Jesus Teaches
Participants learned about Advent and shared family traditions surrounding the Advent and Christmas season (see video page).
Everyone received an Advent Calendar with daily “challenges” to help stay focused on the true meaning of the season. (Participants also received a similar calendar for the Christmas season.)
Participants learned some about the prophets and engaged in a skit about the Prophet Elijah.
We discussed Jesus and did a Mad-Libs-style activity surrounding Jesus asking his Disciples “Who do you say that I am?” and reflected on how we ourselves would answer this question.
We ended with an Advent prayer service in the Chapel.
Chapter 10: The Bible: The Prophets
Chapter 11: Jesus Christ, True God, and True Man
Participants learned about Taize prayer and then participated in a Taize Prayer service where we engaged in songs, silence, and lighting candles for our prayer intentions.
Participants spent time both working on journal pages and sharing their faith with their small groups.
Participants evaluated where they are in their own faith journey and discussed within their small groups.
We discussed covenants and various examples from Scripture.
We discussed faith in regard to three components: believing, trusting, and doing.
Chapter 8: The Bible: Covenants
Chapter 9: Faith: Responding to God
Participants brought their Thanksgiving Food Drive donations.
We began with the Lord’s Prayer.
We discussed how sometimes our prayers are not answered in the way we hoped, bad things happen, or we face hardship. Even though it is sometimes hard to see God’s love, He is always there with us.
We talked about the difference and the similarities between our bodies and our souls and discussed ways that our Church protects us both body and soul.
Participants spent time both completing journal pages and sharing their faith with their small groups.
Participants learned about creation, free will, sin, and how to avoid sin so that we can best act as Christ’s hands and feet in this world.
Participants did an activity demonstrating the benefits of avoiding sin.
We completed our Formation in Christian Chastity lesson which included a video on the importance of Chastity for 6th Graders and a video outlining some of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality for 7th and 8th Graders (see video page).
We covered the Safe Environment lesson and discussed ways to help avoid dangerous or potentially dangerous situations.
We used a Baptismal Font and all participants had an opportunity to bless themselves and then spend a few moments in prayer. Here is the song we used during this prayer time: (see video page).
Chapter 6: Creation
Chapter 7: The Human Person
Participants wrote ways they have seen evidence of God’s love in their lives and in the world on Post-It notes and everyone attached their example to a cross at our opening.
We talked about the Tabernacle present in the Chapel and how we are in sacred space which deserves great respect.
We watched a short video by Bishop Robert Barron about the Trinity (see video page).
Participants completed some journal pages which were added to their Rooted journals.
Participants spent time reading Scripture and sharing with their fellow small group members.
We continued using the “burning bush” from Session #1 as we discussed who God is.
Participants unrolled “scrolls” to reveal the various parts of the Old Testament.
At our closing, participants wrote another Post-It note to attach to the cross. This time they wrote a way that they will be evidence of God’s love in the world over the next few weeks.
We did a silent meditative reflection on how much we are loved by God. Here is the song we used: (see video page).
Chapter 3: God the Father
Chapter 4: The Holy Trinity
Chapter 5: The Bible: The Old Testament
Session #1 (The Opening Retreat)
Participants received their materials (bag, text, and journal) and were introduced to their small groups and the structure of the Rooted program.