Each fall, class by class, HT students take time away from their daily schedules to join their peers for a retreat. In the big picture, class retreats are focused time for students to develop ownership of our Holy Cross values—discipline, excellence, integrity, family and zeal—while creating life-long bonds with classmates.
"The primary goal of the retreat program is to provide students the opportunity to deepen their personal relationship with God, through Christ," says Oswald Avile, campus minister. "Secondarily, the goal is to build community amongst the student body so that by faith and common experience, they may become united and so become citizens with the competence to see and the courage to act. These retreats also provide opportunities for student leadership through Peer Ministry, and foster a sense of Catholic identity in the Holy Cross tradition. These experiences help transform our students into citizens for a better tomorrow with an eye toward excellence."
To the individual student, retreats can be highly personal experiences. We talked with students from each class, who shared their memories:
"I thought we were just going to sit down and talk the whole time, get personal maybe. I thought we were going to talk and talk and talk, that's what I thought was going to happen. Instead, we did group activities, we learned about the founders of Holy Trinity, we wrote letters to ourselves that we will read our senior year. We had seniors talk to us about their experiences and also spoke with an alumnus.I got to know a lot of people I had never talked to in my class. We did talk. We talked about what was difficult, what was easy, we gave each other advice. It was amazing, to be honest. I think it changed our class because we talk to each other more, everyone knows everybody now."
"For me and my family, faith is important to us. It's really nice. I was in a public school and you couldn't talk about your faith, but here I can talk about it. Even though some people don't have the same faith, I can still go to a teacher and know she will answer me. I feel like if I do have any doubts in my faith, which I hope doesn't happen, I know I can go up to my teachers and tell them what's going on and ask for help. It's really nice to know I have someone I can lean on here."
- Susi '21
"This year's class retreat was just a great experience. It was not just a time to get closer to your peers but more so to reflect on your past, to really think about how can I live a life of integrity and fate. At this retreat, you really got a chance to become a better version of yourself and how to learn from your previous mistakes you made in life. Class of 2020 lives through integrity!"
- Ashley '20
"As I am reflecting back to my Junior retreat, I would definitely say this was the best retreat by far. I loved having the opportunity to express myself to people I don't really talk to and hearing everyone's story, which exemplifies their lifestyle. With that being said, the activities that we did really opened each individual up and really helped us have a better understanding of each other. I would say that my experience would not have been the same without our great leader, Emily, because she opened our hearts and minds and made us really embrace ourselves. In my heart, I felt like this retreat was a sense of closure and I will never forget it for the rest of my life!"
- Jonathan '19
"While attending Holy Trinity High School for the past four years, every year a retreat is arranged for each class at different times within the school year. What 'retreat' stands for—after being involved for all four years—is that we (our class) all take a moment to step away from our busy lives that we live while attending high school and focus on ourselves, the connections we have with others, and the connection we have between ourselves and God. Senior retreat for the Class of 2018 went wonderfully. Everyone arrived with great excitement and everyone left with at least one memorable moment that they will hold onto or with a new point of view in life. When we first arrived at the Loyola Retreat Center, it was very sunny and humid but it did not stop us from doing the group activities and exploring. In the prayers that were lead by Mr. Avile and the small groups we were assigned to, it got us all individually to open our hearts and minds and express ourselves in a way to show others what we thought and believed. Our class got to talk to people whom we did not talk to before and it made us closer than we were before. This class year's retreat was remarkable for all or most students in our class and this retreat has been something I have been waiting for since the beginning of freshmen year."
- Christian '18
As Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, wrote, "Faith, as well as reason and experience, demonstrates conclusively that 'in union there is strength.'" At Holy Trinity, we see strength in unity foster during retreats and continue to grow when students return to campus.