+ ST. BENEDICT SECONDARY SCHOOL CAMPUS MINISTRY +
Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and track our seniors' service reflection on the class blog (new content now posting semi-weekly). Scroll down for more info on Retreats, Mass & Prayer, and Service!
IMPORTANT NEWS St. Benedict Secondary School is in a time of transition, having decided to phase out its high school over the next two years before closing permanently at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Please pray for our students, families, and faculty/staff.
RETREATS We must retreat to move forward...
As a Catholic school, Catholic Tradition inspires the content and formation of all our retreats, including sacramental experiences like Mass and Reconciliation. However, all of our retreats are open and welcoming to people of other Christian traditions, other faiths, and no religion at all. We simply ask that all students engage with these experiences on a personal, authentic level with an openness to the call of God and respect for Catholicism.
As we continue to build and improve our retreats, these experiences will substantially and thoughtfully challenge our students to explore their relationships with self, others, and God. Added to students' experience in theology classes, prayer, and Mass, St. Benedict's students gain an integrative faith experience that builds from year to year toward graduation.
Senior Retreat is an overnight retreat that challenges seniors to confront challenging issues pertaining to adulthood. As they move through their final year of high school toward college and its greater independence and responsibility, Senior Retreat invites them to consider issues of relationships, sexuality, identity, and social life in the context of faithfulness. We invite them to identify their strengths and weaknesses in dealing with each of these ideas and push them to become the best versions of themselves as they graduate from St. Ben’s.
Our most recent Senior Retreat took place on Thursday-Friday, January 5-6, 2017 at Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC) in Woodstock, IL. Our previous Senior Retreat took place on Thursday-Friday, September 17-18, 2015, at Camp Manitoqua in Frankfort, IL and included time on the outdoor education courses.
Kairos is a four-day retreat that invites juniors to engage with their faith in a more intensive way. Based off the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, Kairos uses small- and large-group discussions, adult and student talks, and individual and communal prayer to demonstrate the nearness and magnitude of God’s love. While Mr. Masterton, Ms. Deady, Ms. McMillan, and Mrs. Zapf coordinate and direct the retreat, Kairos is driven and animated by a team of student leaders who participate in year-long formation to prepare for the retreat.
Our last Kairos took place on Tuesday-Friday, February 14-17, 2017, at Lasalle Manor Retreat Center in Plano, IL. Our previous Kairos took place on Tuesday-Friday, March 8-11, 2016, at Loyola University Retreat and Ecological Campus (LUREC) in Woodstock, IL.
El Camino (formerly known as Sophomore Retreat) is an overnight retreat that challenges sophomores to reflect about themselves, about others and relationships, and about their relationship with God. The overnight experience will also help get students use to a more intensive retreat and help prepare them for Kairos as juniors. El Camino will be created and directed/led by the students of the Kairos Team. Also in 2016-17, the freshmen will attend El Camino as their retreat for the year.
El Camino Retreat took place Thursday-Friday, December 15-16, 2016, at Cabrini Retreat Center in Des Plaines, IL. Our last Sophomore Retreat was a single-day experience on Friday, December 18, 2015, also at Cabrini Retreat Center. St. Benedict High School will no longer have sophomores as of 2017-18.
Freshmen Retreat is a one-day retreat on campus. Led by St. Ben’s upperclassmen, this retreat helps freshmen acclimate to high school, giving context on what it’s like to go to St. Ben’s and to Catholic school. Using ice-breaker activities and team-building, freshmen can make new friends and gain advocates in their leaders as they start their faith journeys at St. Ben’s.
Freshmen will attend El Camino in 2016-17. Our last Freshmen Retreat took place on Thursday, November 12, 2015 also in Beaven Hall. St. Benedict High School will no longer have freshmen as of 2017-18.
Middle School Day of Reflection is a bite-sized spiritual experience to help middle-schoolers engage their faith beyond their theology classes. The reflection invites them to realize the awesomeness of Creation while realizing that they themselves are co-creators with God, sharing His love in our world by following the example of Christ.
The middle school experiences will be grade-specific in 2016-17, with each class having its own opportunity: 6th graders on Monday, November 21, 2016, 7th graders on Thursday, March 9, 2017, and 8th graders on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in conjunction with their ribbon Mass. Last year’s Middle School Retreat took place on Friday, October 30, 2015, on campus in Beaven Hall.
The Confirmation Retreat will be directed by Ms. McMillan, Director of St. Benedict Parish Youth Ministry. Stay tuned for more information and reference your confirmation packets from Mr. Daniel Hughes, Director of Catechesis.
The Confirmation Retreat will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, here on campus from noon to 6pm, concluding with 5pm Mass in the parish church. Last year's retreat took place on Saturday, March 7, 2016.
MASS & PRAYER
St. Benedict Secondary School attends Mass every Tuesday morning. Most students join the parishioners at 8:30 daily Mass in the parish church. Meanwhile, rotating groups of students stay back in the school chapel for a more intimate Mass, celebrating as a smaller group either by grade level or by house.
Each week, a different group is responsible for reading and bringing forward the gifts at Mass in the parish church, rotating between grade levels and houses. The Secondary School Choir, with Mr. Kiolbassa, Director of Music for the parish, and teachers Ms. Stapleton and Mr. Masterton, lead the music for Mass. In our smaller Mass, students from the group in attendance lead all the ministries.
Students interested in reading or bringing up gifts at Mass should talk to their homeroom/advisory teacher or their Head of House to volunteer.
Students interested in becoming altar servers or Eucharistic Ministers should visit Mr. Masterton, who will help arrange special training to prepare them for the ministry.
Once a month after Tuesday Mass, secondary school students visit their prayer buddies, students from the youngest grades at St. Ben's. They spend time together working on a collaborative activity relating to the faith and share some snacks and free time together as well.
St. Ben’s Campus Ministry makes a monthly Wednesday morning trip to a south-side food pantry, where students partner with local volunteers from St. Columbanus Church to set up a food line and distribute weekly groceries to clients.
We have also started a partnership with Habitat for Humanity via the Pope Francis Home Challenge, raising money and spending volunteer hours building a new home off 119th St. in Pullman. Other partnerships for student service include St. Benedict Parish outreach, Feed My Starving Children, The Port Ministries, Franciscan Outreach, and Catholic Charities North Center Senior Center, Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services, Warren Park Health & Living Center, Misericordia, and more.
Service is a central part of our senior theology course, Social Justice & Vocations. Our class includes curricular service outings and service-learning reflection. Visit our class blog to read students' reflections and watch this video montage (also embedded below) of our inaugural SoJuVo cohort representing St. Ben's in the community.
For AGORA 2015-16, Ms. McMillan and Mr. Masterton led The Margins: Chicago Service. For more information on AGORA and our group, follow our social media, click through to our AGORA page, and read our AGORA blog from the week. Mr. Masterton will be leading an international AGORA trip with Ms. Gonzalez to walk the historical pilgrimage El Camino de Santiago in Spain in May 2017.
Mr. Masterton graduated from the University of Notre Dame cum laude with a BA in Honors Theology in 2011 and from Catholic Theological Union with an MA in Theology-Biblical Ministry in 2016. He has also worked as a volunteer lay minister in Ireland and for four years as a Campus Minister, theology teacher, and coach at Catholic high schools. He is married to his wife, Katherine, and also enjoys writing, running, and cheering on Chicago sports.