Students seek source, strive for summit at Eucharistic retreat
BEDFORD – Several takeaways stuck with high school sophomore and St. Stephen Church parishioner Gideon Artho following the recent Source and Summit retreat.
“Through trying to help us find our place, to show us that we're worth it,” Artho said. “Then, that God never gets tired of forgiving us. We just get tired of asking for forgiveness. That really hit me.”
Artho was one of 99 high school students from six parishes and Fort Worth's Cristo Rey High School attending the April 14-15 retreat at Bedford's St. Michael Church.
The retreat, referencing the Catechism of the Catholic Church's description of the Eucharist as the “source and summit of the Christian life,” offered Mass, Adoration, reconciliation, and music as well as presentations and fellowship with various religious.
“It's so important in this age to turn to God,” Sister Maria Jose Socias of the Servants of the Pierced Heart of Jesus and Mary told students. “Because everything else in this world tells you not to.”
Fellow sophomore and Artho's friend, Ian Padron, echoed Sr. Maria Jose’s sentiments of living one's faith in the secular world.
“If you think a certain way, a lot of people instantly put you down,” Padron said.
St. Mary's Church of Graham parishioner Roslyn Barbosa, a senior, said she relished the opportunity to spend time with and learn more about the sisters.
“How close they are to God makes me want to get closer to Him, because they look so happy,” Barbosa said.
Music to Sr. Maria Jose’s ears who stressed the importance of witnessing through example over indoctrination in urging students to contemplate their place and purpose.
“With so much influence of selfishness and self-indulgence arguments will not convince,” Sr. Maria Jose said. “The best way to bring young people to the Lord and Eucharist is to have true witnesses of who Jesus is to bring them to know there’s something else besides the secular world.”
Servants of the Pierced Hearts Sister Alyssa Renee and others spoke of the effort required to develop a relationship with Jesus and finding meaning in an age of unfulfilling self-gratification and distraction.
“Don't be afraid to be saints and stand up amidst selfishness and emptiness,” Sr. Renee said. “Don't be afraid to be different. You have a gift.”
Fort Worth Diocese Director of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries Director Victoria Ramon summed the retreat's purpose as encouraging students to know, love, and serve God as well as to be exposed to the Lord through the Eucharist and to begin to discern their vocations, be those in a religious or other capacity.