The Retreat Program
As a Catholic school we educate students in a holistic manner, focusing on the development of mind, body, and soul. The spiritual development of our students is of foremost importance and is infused into every aspect of our school day from prayers to start class, religious instruction, liturgical worship to discussions of Catholic virtues and themes across the curriculum. Retreat experiences are times to step back from our normal routines and responsibilities and focus on connecting and developing our relationships with God. Many of our retreat programs are infused into other aspects of student development such as athletics, performing arts, and student government and are required for participation in these activities. This means that many if not most of our students will experience two or more retreats a year due to their involvement in other activities. At a minimum every student in the school is required to attend at least one retreat in order to fulfill their annual retreat requirement and advance to the next grade level. Many of our retreats take place on the Camden Catholic campus but there are several overnight retreat experiences off campus which include a fee to attend.
CCHS’s retreat ministry seeks to offer a “comprehensive program of pastoral ministry for youth that includes catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice and service, leadership development, pastoral care and prayer and worship.” We seek “to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today; to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community; and to foster total personal and spiritual growth of reach young person.” (NDC, 201; cf. RTV, 9-17,26)
Based on this understanding, CCHS has developed a unique retreat program unlike any other high school retreat program. We do not follow a “one size fits all” retreat format that provides one overall retreat for each class. We recognize that each young person is at a different stage in their life-long faith formation and so we strive to meet students where they are at and further develop their relationship with God. Therefore, CCHS has a wide variety of retreat experiences open to all students from which they can choose based on their interests and spiritual needs. Some of these experiences are weekend retreats or day-long retreats on a weekend off campus.
Alternatively, students may opt to attend an annual school-wide retreat day. This day is offered within the time frame of a standard school day and held on campus. There are no academic classes on this school-wide retreat day.
Many of the retreat programs offered at CCHS are developed and facilitated by Senior students who are a part of the Christian Leadership Religion class. These student developed retreats are completed under the supervision of the course’s instructors and in union with Campus Ministry. Every retreat experience at CCHS are guided by our Catholic identity, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the USCCB guidelines for ministry with youth.