"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" sang the Peer Ministers at their annual Advent Prayer Service and Christmas Celebration on December 11, 2019. Gathered around the Christmas tree inside the brick lined arcade, students processed with the Advent candles, proclaimed the readings and led the prayers.
Peer ministers are juniors and seniors who lead the retreats for our students in grades 6-10. Peer ministers are trained in listening, group leadership, and faith values. They are called upon to present witness talks, group activities, and to be models of faith.
Our retreat program is designed to invite students to examine their personal and active relationship with God. Retreats are also days of renewal. A retreat is planned for every grade each year.
At this year's Sophomore Retreat, we started the day at Mass, which was followed by a period of adoration. The adoration was a time for the students to reflect on their lives and their faith. This was followed by time spent getting to know each other and familiarizing the students with their peers. Then the retreatants introduced to different speakers, including students and Mr. Dan O'Hare, a past Ursuline faculty member. The speakers shared personal experiences that provided important lessons for the retreatants to learn, whether it be persevering through hard times or simply being grateful for the lives God gave them.
The retreat ended with a service project that allowed the students to embody the Ursuline motto of Serviam. The entire retreat encompassed the theme of S.A.I.L., which stands for Serviam Always in Life. Both the peer ministers and students left the retreat with new insight into their lives. As Mr.O'Hare said in his witness talk, "Nothing is ever as good as it seems, or as bad as it appears to be."
How was the retreat experience for the Peer Ministers? Grace Mangels said, "Being with the underclass women during the witness talks allowed me to hear about their own personal experiences and teach them to rely on faith throughout their high school career."
Annie Christensen shared, "I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know the 10th graders on a more personal level and help them along on their spiritual journey. Without Peer Ministry, this opportunity would've never presented itself to me."