John Wichterman ’23
Anthony Runfola ’21 has attempted to secure a spot on a Kairos retreat since the very first one that was offered in October, but due to limited numbers of participants and extracurricular priorities, Kairos has begun to look like less of a reality.
Many seniors are facing similar problems since COVID has promptly changed how Kairos, a retreat that is considered a culminating experience for many juniors and seniors, is being held.
In the past, over 40 students used to be able to attend each Kairos, but this year, that number has declined to around 18 students. There also used to be five student leaders and five adult leaders, but those numbers have dropped to three student leaders and three adult leaders.
These factors have significantly decreased the chances for seniors to be able to attend a Kairos.
For Runfola, this stress began to set in once he realized how little of an opportunity he truly had to make it onto a Kairos.
“There was that one Kairos scheduled for October/November that got postponed until sometime in January. This is when I realized that there would probably only be one more retreat going up before baseball season, so I then began to stress about getting onto the February Kairos, which I did not get onto either,” Runfola explains.
In response to the limited numbers brought upon by COVID, the OFJ and Mr. Steven Schillig ’15 have been working to make the selection process as equitable and available as possible.
The first change that was made to the selection process was the switch from first come first served to a random name generator in order to have a more equitable process.
This change came after Mr. Schillig noticed that some students were finishing the form exceptionally fast compared to other students.
Another factor for the change was that some students have other priorities after school, such as sports practices, meaning that they cannot be waiting on their email to fill out the form once it is put out.
The second change brought upon by the OFJ was the addition of five more Kairos retreats, with two occurring after graduation, in order to give students as many opportunities to experience this retreat.
Mr. Schillig explained that although he is hopeful for the retreats, he does have his worries regarding holding two retreats after graduation.
“I’ve had over 50 seniors personally email me asking for there to be Kairos’ in the summer so that they’re able to go… I think a lot of the seniors hopefully at this point recognize the sacredness of the retreat… but it has been a worry of mine.”
Mr. Schillig said that he is confident in trusting the seniors’ judgement for these two retreats.
“It is very important for me to go on the retreat. Nearly all of my senior friends have gone on at least one Kairos, and they have all come back telling me how I need to find a way to get on one,” Runfola said.
Diego Acevedo ’21, who went on Kairos 175 and led Kairos 177, emphasizes the impact that Kairos has had on himself and his remaining senior year.
“For me personally, Kairos was a just great time to reflect on who I am, what Brophy has really done for me and who I am meant to be … I do feel like that Kairos is the greatest environment to really learn something about yourself,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo suggested that another change the OFJ could possibly make would be the addition of just one or two more students to each Kairos so that the greatest number of students can experience it.
“You can always find something at Kairos that will benefit you and will always help you and [will help develop] what you think and what you believe,” Acevedo said.