By Mark Rossbach ’21 and Jude Unrein ’23
Given the group health restraints that come with living in a pandemic, retreats, a major part of Brophy formation and community, have had to adapt to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Some of these adaptations include reducing the number of retreatants, changing the location of some retreats to on campus, and limiting overnight retreats.
Normally, the swim team would have gone to Manresa, but this year that had to change.
“For teams, those have been postponed indefinitely. This is because we felt that teams could still have retreat experiences here on campus without having to worry about travelling,” said Mr. Paul Fisko, Assistant Principal for Ministry.
The swim team is not the only team hoping to move retreats to on campus.
“Other teams are going to follow that model,” said Ms. Sue Hornbeck.
Moving off-campus retreats to on-campus eliminates transmission from the close-quarters transportation. This also allows for more opportunities for overnight retreats centered around spiritual experiences.
“Manresa is, right now, off limits to anything but overnight faith and justice retreats,” Mr. Fisko said.
Kairos, a cornerstone retreat, has gone through a series of changes.
“The initial plan was to launch two three-day, weekend Kairos in mid to late September to basically prime the pump of having completed Kairos seniors who could serve the rest of the year,” Mr. Fisko said.
However, due to some concerns by the Brophy administration, these plans were cancelled. After some more planning, a new initial retreat date was set for Oct. 20, 2020, with groups that are entirely faculty.
“This first Kairos and possibly the next two will strictly be adult teams. We don’t think that that is ideal, but we are constructing these groups with long-standing faculty as well as new faculty and recent graduates, including current and past alumni service corps,” Mr. Fisko said. “We feel like this is a good way for seniors to hear from young people as well as seasoned veterans of the staff and faculty.”
After about a month’s worth of this style of retreats, Kairos will start to revert back to the initial pandemic plans.
Mr. Fisko also said that there is a plan to have up to 12 Kairos retreats this year in order to get as many students as possible through the experience.
According to Mr. Steven Schillig ’15, Director of Retreats, the Brophy administration is working very hard to make retreats a possibility.
“Administration is doing a great job of making sure we’re making safe and prudent decisions while recognizing the importance of retreats and keeping them in mind,” Mr. Schillig said.
As far as the students’ role in all of this, Mr. Fisko says that it is important now to keep an open ear for opportunities that arise to get involved.
“Things change based on our best scenarios of what the pandemic will allow. When it is time to sign up, don’t put it off,” Mr. Fisko said.