At Mater Dei, we are privileged to have an extensive retreat program available to our students. We offer 10 retreats each year at the class level and through a program modeled after the Kairos retreat program the we call Walk in Faith (WIF). The retreats take place off campus and build in length and depth (freshman retreat – 1 day, sophomore retreat – 1 day, junior retreat – 2 days, senior retreat – 3 days). The retreat program gives students the opportunity to examine and deepen their faith surrounded by a community of their peers.
Walk in Faith truly is the “crown jewel” (as we lovingly refer to it) of our entire retreat program. Walking in Faith means putting one foot in front of another with both eyes on God. As Director of Campus Ministry, I have been blessed to witness the gift this experience has been for the student retreatants, their parents, faculty/staff and young alumni leaders. It is also incredible to see the deeper spiritual commitment our students have as a result of WIF and the connection that they make with their older siblings who are so excited to have them share in something that was so life-changing during their years at Mater Dei.
This week we embark on Walk in Faith #35. As we look forward to what blessings this journey will certainly bring, it is also important to reflect back on the incredible growth this program has had over the years. Our first Walk in Faith took place in fall 1997 at Aldersgate Retreat Center in Pacific Palisades. We had no idea what we started 14 years ago would have grown to the program that we have today.
Currently, we offer three Walk in Faith retreats each year. Each WIF includes approximately 60 students, 8 faculty/staff, and 8 young alumni (currently in college) who lead the retreat. The WIF experience takes place over three days at Mission San Luis Rey and is designed to enable students to look more closely and deeply at their relationships with self, others and God. The retreat accomplishes these goals with a series of talks given by both young adults and adult leaders, prayer, participation in the sacraments, group activities and discussions.
We are so blessed to have the gift of alumni priests, including Fr. William Hubbard ’99 (WIF #2) and Fr. Steve Sallot ’72 who have so graciously given their time and talents to assist us over the years in making the WIF journey possible. It was Fr. Steve’s vision and dream of a more intense retreat that created the reality of WIF.
A fundamental part of the WIF retreat is the “surprise” of what is to come. Similar to faith and our journey with it, students take this walk as it unfolds and follow where it leads them. As a result, there is a confidentiality about specific retreat activities that is maintained by all Walk in Faith alumni. Once you make a WIF retreat, you are part of this family community for life.
We pray for a safe and memorable experience to our retreatants, faculty/staff, young alumni leaders, priests and Campus Ministry staff as they embark on WIF 35.
Director of Campus Ministry