Catholics do retreats because youth are busy, multi-tasking, surrounded by tons of other options and opportunities. Retreats offer an oasis in the midst of spiritual deserts. They offer silence in the midst of chaos. They offer community in what can be a lonely teenage world.
In the life of a parish, retreats are essential. They provide a time and place for intentional bonding within the group. When numbers allow, it is great to be able to split the middle and high school students and have separate retreats for each.
Retreats are also a great place for growth. They allow youth a safe space to step up and provide leadership. This leadership will show itself both in structured and unstructured activities – for example the senior who takes it upon himself to spend time with the freshmen or the seventh grader who realizes she has an important voice in group discussion and begins to ask questions and give answers for the first time. The leadership and even spiritual growth will often show itself during the most unexpected times.
"Going on a Mission trip" is answering the call from Christ’s final command in Matthew 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” through our specific ministry to teens. We invest in the lives of the youth around us by going out to them, inviting them into relationship and teaching them what it means to follow Christ.