WHAT IT IS
The Kairos Retreat program is the culminating senior retreat, four days long, that gives our seniors the gift of God’s time to awaken to a deeper experience of the spirituality. The word “Kairos” is an ancient Greek word that mean the right or opportune time. Greeks used to describe time in two realities—chronos which is measured and chronological time [a clock, for example, keeps chronological time] and kairos where something special is given the chance to take place.
New Testament scholars used the term to draw our attention to “the appointed time in the purpose of God”, giving our God the chance to reveal or manifest Himself in our lives. Thus, providing this kind of time for our students is part of the philosophy and mission of St. Paul High School. Our patron, St. Paul, had one of the most noted kairos experiences when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus.
THE KAIROS RETREAT
We make this special retreat available to our senior students and in the Spring to selected junior students who are preparing for possible retreat leadership in the Fall. One can only lead Kairos if they have made the retreat. It is our desire that the student grows in deeper awareness of self, others and God. This retreat also provides the opportunity for the student to broaden their relationships with classmates, family and deepen the relationship with their God.
This retreat has been in existence for over 40 years and it is amazing that such a powerful experience would still be relevant to today’s teens. The miracle of the retreat is the God works very powerfully through the student and adult team.
The student team actually leads the retreat experience for their peers after weeks of training. The retreat is very detailed and requires many weeks of planning and preparation. The adult team is made up of staff including the School Chaplain. Talks or other exercises are prepared by each team member to share with the retreatants. While the days are full, retreatants are given the time for sleep , which is important for the many activities each day holds.
One does not sign up for this retreat at the last minute. It is important that when the notification for the retreat is sent out that students sign up quickly for many reasons that cannot be shared here. Students must sign up and make a non-refundable deposit to guarantee a place on the retreat. The elements of ‘surprise’ that are part of the retreat are meant to allow our students something that today’s world has little due to social media and the like. When a student really does not know what is going to happen on the retreat, the retreat experience is all the more richer and memorable.
The retreat lasts four days. Students leave after school on either Monday or Tuesday and return the late afternoon/evening of the fourth day. The retreat does not allow students time to attend to studies or other school related matters. Students need to speak with teachers before hand to make sure they will be given make up work to keep abreast of their classes. No class should ever hinder the student from attending as our retreats are the direct living out of our mission and philosophy. If academic issues are of a concern, the Retreat Director will speak with the parent, counselor and the teacher if needed. It is important that a student choose a retreat that will not be in conflict with sports, drama or other responsibilities that cause them to leave the retreat. The student needs to remain at the retreat all four days.
Our retreats are held at adult retreat centers in the greater Los Angeles area instead of campsites. This is meant to help our students learn that after high school, there are spirituality centers of which they can avail themselves during their adult lives. Retreats should not stop in high school, if we are taking our call to be Christians seriously. We need times of refreshment or reevaluation of our path to Christ. These centers provide many different opportunities for our future alumni.