Coming up this January, De Smet seniors will have their last opportunity of their high school careers to go on the Kairos retreat.
Students on Kairos have the chance to grow closer to God in a way where the problems and responsibilities of society don’t weigh heavily on our thoughts and actions. This gives vital time to students in need, who could use a place to make hard decisions while being around friends and teachers that will be there for them.
Teachers from De Smet will be going on the trip, some of them look forward to the trip as well. Since the Nov. Kairos was postponed due to COVID-19, it’s a possibility that the Nov. group could be scheduled to go with the Jan. group.
“I think that the most important takeaway from Kairos that I hear guys talk about is that it’s lead by their peers,” Kairos Director Mike Callahan. “These are guys who have gone on Kairos and they enjoyed the experience enough that they want to lead it for their classmates. Really, it’s a chance to get to know people in a deeper, better way, and you also get to know guys that maybe you don’t know well because we don’t have a lot of free time now with COVID-19.”
Usually, De Smet offers 4 Kairos retreats a year. Because of the pandemic, the amount of opportunities has been limited.
“When on retreat, students will not have access to the real world for almost three days,” Dr. Callahan said. “We’re becoming better people because of these experiences in which we will have to do things for ourselves. It’s very rare for people to have the opportunity to not worry about their problems for a couple of days and take time to reflect on difficult decisions.”
Although Kairos may seem a little different this year, COVID-19 guidelines will be followed to ensure the safety and full flexibility of the retreat. Instead of the normal 3-day retreat, Kairos will only be 2 days in Jan. because there will be less contact.
“I think that often times we all just get so busy, that there’s just so much we have to do, that if we can just slow down and not have outside work or outside commitments, we can really think about just our life and how we’d like life to be,” Dr. Callahan said, “Think about some decisions that we having coming up that can determine some of our future, we and we can share things that we think are important and that would be helpful for our relationship with God.”
De Smet believes they can get students the full Kairos experience in two days compared to three.
“On the retreat, it’s going to be a smaller group and there’s going to be more spaces, so I don’t think there’s really any more concern than there should be compared to a school day,” Dr. Callahan said. “The thought of fear or worry about going on a retreat is normal. A big part of what the retreat is how we create a safe environment where we support each other no matter what and I think once guys feel that brotherhood, it can take the fear away.”