The Embrace Confirmation Retreat offers young people the opportunity to enter into a peaceful atmosphere where they are led by trained retreat directors on a journey of faith, which is based upon Sacred Scripture and the living tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. This retreat demonstrates to the participants how to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given to them at their Baptism and strengthened at their Confirmation, all the while empowering them to be witnesses to the Gospel.
The Embrace Confirmation Retreat is designed as an eight-hour program, but can be expanded or shortened depending upon the needs of the organization. In what follows are short descriptions of each session that are the core topics of the Embrace Confirmation Retreat.
1. “You Will Be My Witnesses” Acts 1: 8
The idea of being a witness to the Gospel is the central theme of this retreat in order to help young people embrace the opportunities they have to be active witnesses to the Gospel through their actions.
2. Made to Be a Gift
In this session, participants are invited to
call to mind the individual gifts that they have been given by God. They are taught that their talents are not meant to be kept for themselves, but rather to be given as a gift to others. By using the example of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 and 2, each participant will identify a gift of their own that can be shared to better the community in which they live.
3. Overcoming Temptations
In the Christian life, each of us struggles with temptations, which can keep us from embracing God’s love. In this session, each participant identifies the temptations that threaten the relationship that they have with God. At the same time, they are encouraged to identify what helps them overcome temptations. By partaking in a group activity, each participant learns the communal aspect of celebrating the sacraments as a tangible way to overcome and master temptations.
4. In the School of the Holy Spirit
Nobody can get through the struggles of life on their own. For this reason, Jesus Christ gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us on the path to holiness. This catechetical session discusses the calling down of the Holy Spirit as a way in which someone can not only overcome temptations, but also live a fruitful Christian life.
5. Living as a Witness
Living as a witness to the Gospel is an action that takes initiative and practice. During this session, the participants are sent forth from the retreat center to the Catherine Kasper Life Center (CKLC), located at The Center at Donaldson where they are challenged to witness Jesus’ love to the elderly, who are often marginalized by their infirmities. While at CKLC the participants partake in activities, such as one-on-one visits with residents, all while being a witness to Christ’s love by bringing their talents and joys to everyone they meet.
6. Lectio Divina
This session teaches each participant how to allow the Word of Sacred Scripture to speak to one’s heart and to burn in one’s soul. The participants learn and practice the skills to receive the living Gospel so as to engage with Christ in a living dialogue of friendship.
No matter what age a person is, everyone is in constant need of conversion. As limited human beings, we must be aware of the times that we have failed to live as Jesus calls us to live. During this session, the participants are given the opportunity to reflect upon the life they are living, and how Christ the Healer can change it for the better through the power and grace of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
8. Confession and Mass
Two of the most important sacraments of the church conclude the Embrace Retreat
Christopher Thelen, Director
After spending nearly a decade as a specialist in business training and small business ownership within the insurance and financial services industries, Christopher Thelen experienced a welling desire to serve the Lord in church ministry. In response to this call he switched career paths in order to minister in a number of faith-based organizations by developing and directing retreats of prayer, hiking and camping expeditions for youth, and faith formation retreats for all age groups. He currently serves as the Director of Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center.