In April 2019, a group of 14 students, three FOCUS missionaries, and one interim Campus Minister went on the Newman Center’s first-ever, off-grid retreat. Titled Encounter, the retreat was designed to help students experience the presence of Christ in different areas of their lives. Students were led in reflection and listened to talks about how we encounter Christ in prayer, in the poor, in fellowship, and in the sacraments.
Each student came away from the retreat with new insights and a deeper understanding of Christ’s eternal love for each of us. The weekend retreat began at the Newman Center on Friday night with the students, missionaries, and Campus Ministry staff gathered together to celebrate Mass. Then, a talk was given about how we experience Christ in fellowship. The students then formed small groups to reflect on the talk, with the remainder of the night spent in fellowship, games, and laughter.
On Saturday morning, everyone packed up their belongings and departed for Maine Huts and Trails in western Maine. A two-mile hike into the woods to Flagstaff Hut and nearby cabins for sleeping was the setting for the remainder of the retreat Saturday into Sunday. The next 24 hours were filled with talks, prayer, healing, laughter, reflection, and praise and worship (music provided by guitarist and UMaine alum Kevin McFadden, ’15, who studied Zoology from CT and now a high school educator in Maine).
The retreat was a great experience for all who attended, with hopes to only grow in the future! Deborah S., class of 2021, said, “The spring retreat was an invitation from God. It was an opportunity to encounter Christ in a unique way. Through this retreat, God showed me how much He loves and knows me. He taught me how to seek help and to call upon Him.”