Bishop Noll’s In-person Retreats are Back

Melissa Carlos, Staff Reporter

Bishop Noll’s in-person retreats are back after a one-and-a-half year absence due to COVID-19. Coordinated by the campus ministry team to maintain COVID safety, the first in-person freshman retreat took place August 29 at Bishop Noll.

Ms. Stacia Bolakowski, campus minister, explained that the only overnight retreats this year are the senior and junior retreats. El Camino, the sophomore retreat, was transformed into a day-long retreat that took place at Bishop Noll on Sept. 12.

To keep the retreats COVID friendly, Bolakowski said that the participants would be required to wear masks, maintain social distance, and eliminate big meals. However, snacks and bottled water will be provided. “There are certain games and icebreakers that we cannot do,” Bolakowski says. “But the student leaders have gotten creative, and have done some great activities.”

Making sure that retreat message gets to every participant is important. Bolakowski says masks make it hard for the participants to fully express themselves. “I firmly believe that wherever two or more are gathered together in Jesus’ name, he is there,” she says. “His message will shine through!” Despite the long absence of in-person retreats, the student ministry team thinks they haven’t missed a beat in preparing for the retreats. “I don’t think they missed anything,” says student director Aaliyah Crawford. “Obviously we had to change some of our usual antics, but we recovered, tweaked, and adapted everything that had to be changed into something equally or better than what we would have done in the past.”

After having to take a halt on in-person, Bolakowski says she’s relieved to return to full retreats, “I felt like I had no purpose here at BNI in so many ways,” she said. “We did some alternative activities through Campus Ministry to try to fill the void left by no in-person retreats, but it just wasn’t the same.”