A Break to Re-group and Reflect
College-Age Retreats Help Graduates Keep the Faith
During their Christmas break, graduates of Chaminade High School and Kellenberg Memorial High School took time for their faith on a College-Age Alumni Men’s Retreat at the Marianists’ Meribah Retreat House in Muttontown. The theme of the retreat, “It’s Not How You Planned It,” focused on the grace of God that can so often be found when we least expect it. The two-day retreat in early January included group discussion, personal reflection, and fellowship among retreatants and the Brothers.
Several guest speakers lent their time and perspective to the program. Jay Asparro, a 1997 Kellenberg graduate, and Kevin Dolan, an alumnus of the Chaminade Class of 1985, led discussions on the first day. Jay made news in 2017 for planning to run 90 miles from Montauk to Plainview for Alzheimer’s disease. He wanted to honor his grandmother, Ann, and raise $40,000 for the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation. Ann suffers from the illness. Jay told Telecare’s Everyday Faith Live, “She means everything to me. She’s taught me everything about faith, love, and family.” Kevin, who currently coaches Chaminade’s varsity football team, told retreat participants, “Life is not about never falling and stumbling. It’s about how you pick yourself up and carry on.”
Longtime Chaminade history teacher Bro. Lawrence Syriac, S.M. led a faith talk on the retreat’s second day, as did Bro. Timothy Driscoll, S.M., Provincial Superior of the Marianist Province of Meribah and Chaplain of St. Martin de Porres Marianist School.
“Being able to go on the Marianist College-Age Alumni Men’s Retreat was a gift and pleasure in many ways,” said Eddie O’Brien, a Catholic University of America student and a Kellenberg 2017 graduate. “The retreat itself was focused on providing us with hope in instances that don’t go the way we planned them to. It was quite beautiful to hear everyday men discuss rather difficult times in their lives and how they endured in and through them – with faith.”
Eddie believed that his time on retreat was well-spent, and recommends that other graduates of the Marianist schools consider a retreat to nurture their spirits.
“I would encourage anyone invited to attend, even if they’re unsure about it. The retreat provided me with some much-needed time set apart for reflection and communal prayer. Being with the Brothers and other Marianist-educated alumni reminded me of just how grateful I am for the transformative experiences I’ve had at Kellenberg and the ways in which its education of both the heart and mind prepared me for the world that awaits me. And it is a world full of testing moments and hardships, but also great joy and hope to constantly be found, as long as you keep the faith and seek to grow in it and strengthen it.”
College-age retreats are sponsored by the Marianists twice annually – one the week of New Year’s Day, and another during mid May.