The Catholic Newman Center’s annual Search retreat will be held April 28 through 30 at Camp Gifford by Deer Lake. “It’s like the biggest deal ever. It’s the Newman Center’s main event,” said Stephen James, an EWU freshman who frequents the center located across from campus on Elm Street.
The retreat costs $15 and is open to Catholic and non-Catholic students alike.
“It’s not the kind of retreat where we try to force Catholic beliefs on people. Catholic beliefs will be shared, but people can choose how much they want to participate,” said Laura Proulx, search coordinator.
The retreat is student led, so Proulx and four other students have been planning the activities. They will take turns speaking to students about three basic goals: rediscovering one’s spiritual self, forming a deeper relationship with God and forming community.
The retreat has always been student-led, but as the center is currently without a full-time director, this has put more responsibility on the students handling the technical aspects of organizing the retreat.
In order to give organizers additional time to prepare, the retreat date was pushed back from its normal time in the fall to its current date at the end of April. “We needed more time for fundraising and advertising,” said Proulx.
While it’s mainly a prayer retreat, other activities will include mass, a reconciliation service, a bonfire and possibly soccer on the facility’s large field.
Organizers got a lot of positive feedback about Camp Gifford as a location last year and are excited to return.
“It’s gorgeous up there. It’s owned by the Salvation Army and they’re wonderful to work with,” said Proulx. She hopes that students will have fun and will return excited about building community.
For Proulx, the idea is not just to build community within the Newman Center or the Catholic student body, but to see unity between all of the different Christian groups on campus.
“I think there’s a lot of division among Christians today and that’s really sad because we’re called to be united. We hope to have more community and involvement with other Christian organizations,” she said.
The retreat is normally attended by 20 to 25 people and scholarships are available for those who can’t afford the $15 fee.
“It’s the end of the month and sometimes people are a little short on [money],” said Proulx.
Flyers will be going up soon around campus and students can call the Newman Center at 235-8402 for more information.