Virtual Young Adult Retreat

Global pandemic doesn’t slow retreat Sponsored by Sisters of St. Basil the Great

Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop a group of young adults from participating in a retreat.

The annual Young Adult Retreat was scheduled to be held from June 26 to 28 at the House of Prayer at the beautiful grounds of Mount St. Macrina in Uniontown, Pa.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the House of Prayer canceled its in-person events. However, thanks to technology and the internet, the retreat still went on through Zoom video conferencing.

The retreat was titled “Authentic Discipleship: Responding to Christ’s Call in the Post-Modern World.” It drew much of its inspiration from Kevin Cotter’s book, “Called: Becoming an Everyday Disciple in a PostChristian World.” Discipleship and evangelization were the primary themes of discussion throughout the weekend.

A team of young adults joined Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM, in planning the retreat weekend.

The young adult retreat team included Sam Tima; siblings Emily, Katie, and Jonathan Breda; Kevin Barry; and David Donohoe.

They went to the retreat in previous years and wanted to lead their peers into a deeper encounter and enjoy fellowship with fellow young adult Catholics.

The team spends months of preparation and planning, including having regular Zoom meetings, reading through Kevin Cotter’s book, advertising the event, and much prayer.

The retreat included five talks given by the retreat team leaders, Compline, livestreamed Vespers, a virtual Emmaus walk, Morning Prayer, a game of Catholic jeopardy, an ice cream social, and an icebreaker activity.

Father Will Rupp, director of spiritual formation at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa., was kind enough to speak to forming a prayer rule and showed us his own personal icon corner.

Because of the online platform, the retreat attracted young people outside the western Pennsylvania region. Retreatants came from as far south as Florida, as far east as the New Jersey shore, and as far west as the central Ohio area.

Participants were unanimous that they enjoyed the retreat and they were spiritually enriched. Some comments included, “Getting to spend a weekend with like-minded young adults is always spiritually refreshing.

“I particularly enjoyed the discussion time throughout the weekend and it was a great way to connect with others around my age who are spiritually focused.

I also think the sessions help make discipleship seem like something that is truly possible today.”