Faith Ignites Real Energy (F.I.R.E.) Lock-In Retreat
By Karen Albers
Almost 60 STM middle school parishioners gathered for an amazing two-day F.I.R.E. (Faith Ignites Real Energy) Retreat. The lock-in started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the children spent the night in the parish hall, and the activities ended mid-Sunday morning. It was an opportunity for the F.I.R.E. members to focus on their relationship with God, grow in their faith and build on relationships within our church community.
The theme of the retreat was “Mercy” and emphasized the Corporal Works of Mercy. The children were in groups based on the Spiritual Works of Mercy that included Advise, Comfort, Console, Forgive, Instruct and Understanding.
The retreat began with the “Hike for the Homeless” on Thunderbird Mountain. The hike raises awareness and highlights St. Joseph the Worker organization. On returning, FIRE members were involved in many group activities, presentations, a scavenger hunt, Mass and much more. Several of the high school members from TUF (Teens United in Faith) spoke to explain their own faith journey and challenges, and to show the FIRE members that they are not alone. Thomas and Jake explained that sometimes your friends are the ones that keep you involved at church. Lizzie demonstrated that with a little different perspective, music can include a message about your faith.
Angela talked about St. Thomas More and how he was a “pretty cool dude who lived out his faith”. Robert, Sienna and Sean were there to help the FIRE members in their groups and helped overnight. There was even a special guest speaker, Dr. Sophia Lee, who used songs and inspirational words to guide them in their faith and make a real connection with God. In the evening, each group presented skits explaining a specific aspect of the Corporal Works of Mercy. The skits were incredible and the messages were inspiring!
FIRE members learned from one of the FIRE leaders, Mr. Luke, that we can have fun with our faith. He created marvelous videos that demonstrated how we can “walk the walk” in our faith wearing our Jesus Jays. The videos were not only humorous, but quite motivational as well.
On Sunday, the retreat closed with strong messages from more of our TUF teen leaders. Ana shared her faith journey and explained that once she let God into her life to guide and help her, that things in her life became much better. Gabby spoke to the youth about how they can put their faith into action and be able to help others. Their messages were wonderful way to end the retreat.
An event of this magnitude is only possible with the gift of our church members faith, time and energy. We are blessed to have our Youth Coordinator, Kari Beth Paulk, to lead the way and the numerous F.I.R.E. leaders who continually give of their time and wisdom. We are also grateful to the many TUF teen leaders who came to lead and support our F.I.R.E. members. Also, many thanks to all those who helped with transportation, cooking and everything else!April 11, 2018