Pope John Paul II High School offers multiple retreats for students that are based upon the charism and teachings of Pope John Paul II. They are thematically formulated around the School's three foundational educational elements of pursuing Truth, acting Virtuously, and building Community. Peer and adult leaders create an atmosphere of support, trust and sharing so that students can explore the challenges of Catholic/Christian identity, relationships, values, courageous leadership and reconciliation in the context of their faith. The goal is to provide students with the opportunity to listen and respond to God's presence in their lives and the life of their communities.
Freshman Retreat: Theme - Build Community
"None of us is alone in this world; each of us is a vital piece of the great mosaic of humanity as a whole." Pope John Paul II, Israel-Palestine - 9/22/1999
"It is especially for you, young people, to take on the great task of building a society where there will be more justice and solidarity." Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day VI - 8/15/1990
The objectives of the freshman retreat are to enculturate the School's newest members into their new school community and begin the process of developing their identity individually and collectively as persons of faith and members of the Pope John Paul II community. It is a time to reflect upon what it means to be and act as a "person for others".
Sophomore Retreat: Theme - Act Virtuously
"...make your generous and responsible contribution to the constant building up of the Church as a family, a place of dialogue and mutual acceptance, a space of peace, mercy and pardon." Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day XII - 11/24/1991
"Through her example, may Most Holy Mary encourage you to be in the new millennium announcers of hope, love and peace!" Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day XV - 8/15/2000
The sophomore retreat focuses on what it means to act virtuously within the confines of Pope John Paul II High School and the broader contexts of their family, church community, civic community, and the world community. It is an opportunity for sophomores to reflect upon how their faith calls them and challenges them to act in a way that often contradicts their understanding and experiences of popular culture.
Junior Retreat: Theme - Faith and Prayer
"Freedom is not the ability to do anything we want, whenever we want. Rather, freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and one another." Pope John Paul II, Saint Louis, Missouri - 1/26/1999
"In prayer you become one with the source of our true light, Jesus himself." Pope John Paul II, Saint Louis, Missouri - 1/26/1999
The junior retreat is a time for juniors to examine their understanding of faith as a relationship with Christ and how prayer (sacraments, liturgy, etc.) strengthens that relationship within the context of the various communities of which they are members. It is a time for juniors to reflect upon their relationships with family, friends, school community, and their church community as concrete evidence of God's love for them, their call to love others and their loving response to their God.
Senior Retreat: Theme - Courageous Leadership
"Call out to Jesus to remain with you always along the many roads to Emmaus of our time. May he be your strength, your point of reference, your enduring hope!" Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day XII - 11/24/1991
"The human person, created in the image and likeness of God, cannot become a slave to things, to economic systems, to technological civilization, to consumerism, to easy success." Pope John Paul II, Pozan, Poland - 6/3/1997
"...you are under threat from the bad use of advertising techniques, which plays upon the natural tendency to avoid effort and promises the immediate satisfaction of every desire, while consumerism that goes with it suggests that you should seek self-fulfillment especially in the enjoyment of material goods." Pope John Paul II, Dilecti Amici - 3/31/1985
Leaving the comfort and security of high school presents many challenges similar to those seniors experienced in their transition from elementary school to high school. The senior retreat provides seniors with a brief time where they can distance themselves from the stresses of career/college selection, admissions to college, scholarship applications and separation. Seniors have the opportunity to reflect upon this time as a call to courageous leadership which requires them, in light of their faith, not only to challenge some of the values of contemporary society but also to act accordingly. It is an opportunity for seniors to reflect upon their experiences of pursuing truth, acting virtuously, and building community at Pope John Paul II High School and how those experiences translate to their future roles as courageous leaders.