Description: This retreat will focus young adults on the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and provide opportunities for reflection on vocation, discipleship, and healing.
- Prep Time: You should begin planning this event at least three months in advance, holding bi-weekly meetings leading up to the event. (Depending on availability, you may need to reserve your space further in advance.)
- Volunteers Needed: Five-10 core team members (descriptions in the Recommends section below).
- Ideal Group Size: 30-50 participants
- Ideal Time for this Event: Weekend for sure! Friday evening-Sunday afternoon works very well.
- Who is this for? All young adults, 18-40, single or married.
- Supplies Needed: Projector, screen, laptop, speakers, Bibles, prayer aids such as rosaries or booklets, board games and snacks for free time, paper and pens for journaling. If not included with the retreat center, you’ll need to plan for meals — paper products for meals, beverages, and necessary items for prep and clean up. Also, you may need to provide your own Mass supplies. Usually the celebrant can help you put together a Mass kit or will bring his own.
- Reserve the Space: Find a nearby retreat center. Ideally, the space would feature a cafeteria with food service staff, a chapel with stocked sacristy, a large room for talks and spaces for small group meetings in addition to appropriate overnight accommodations. We charge $125 per person to cover these costs. You might set a different fee, depending on expenses. You might also consider offering scholarships for people who want to attend but can’t afford to.
Publicize the Program:
- Create a Facebook event, personal invitations, flyers, and a registration form for distribution.
- Send out a mass e-mail through the diocesan young adult ministry office.
- Making announcements at the Mass most frequented by young adults is also helpful.
Prayer for Program Planner: Lord, we ask that you bless our efforts in planning this retreat to bring young adults closer to you through the Holy Eucharist. Bless me, as the coordinator, that I may listen to your promptings and trust that you will bless this retreat and use it to touch hearts.
Community Building: This retreat definitely builds community! There is time for personal prayer and reflection; however, through small group discussions people get to know one another on a deeper level. There are also blocks of social free time where people can play sports, talk, and socialize. The talks on the retreat are also given by young adults, which builds community as well through people sharing their stories and witness.
Make It Happen
- Three months in advance, select your date and reserve the retreat space. (Depending on availability, you may need to do this further in advance. Some retreat spaces book a year in advance.)
- Invite individuals to serve on the retreat core team. (See the descriptions in the Recommends section.) Decide as a core team what the focus of your retreat and retreat talks will be. You might also select a patron saint for the weekend. There are suggestions for these in the Recommends section — see the Sample Retreat Schedule and Talk Outlines.
- Hold retreat meetings every other week. Retreat meeting agendas should include ample time to pray for those who will be coming on and leading the retreat. These meetings should also be times for individuals to report progress and ask for assistance/feedback on tasks, prepare talks, coordinate details, secure supplies, and so on.
- Begin publicizing your event, especially extending personal invitations.
- Several weeks in advance or as people register, be sure to send a list of items to bring (especially items that are or are not provided by the retreat center: e.g., linens, shower shoes, a fan, etc.), clarify the dress code for the weekend, and remind young adults about directions and start and end times. Invite young adults to bring a prayer journal, rosary, Bible, etc.
- Confirm numbers and costs with the retreat center and be clear with young adults about what, if any, financial cost there is for them to attend the retreat.
- Coordinate transportation to and from the retreat. Suggest carpooling and public transportation options, if available.
- Confirm priests and logistics for Mass, adoration (if applicable), and reconciliation.
Day of the Retreat:
- Arrive at the retreat center early.
- Set up the main meeting area. Check technology and sound equipment.
- Check small group areas to be sure they are sufficient.
- Check in with the retreat center staff, verifying check-in and check-out processes, meal times, and how to handle security, maintenance, or emergency issues.
- Organize supplies.
- Be sure to set aside time for the team to pray together before young adults arrive.
See Recommends section for a detailed Retreat Schedule. (Adjust the times to fit your group’s needs and preferences.)