Members of Marist High School’s administration and faculty presented a workshop at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) conference which ran from March 29 through 31, 2016, in San Diego, Cali. President Hank Hammer, Joanne Paprocki; director of curriculum and instruction, and Vince Andiorio; a retired Marist faculty member who heads the school’s adult faith formation committee, designed the workshop based on Marist’s faculty retreat, which offers teachers and staff the opportunity to choose from a variety of options.
The title of the workshop was “Faculty Faith Formation: One Size Does Not Fit All,” and it highlighted Marist’s multifaceted retreat that gives adults options to choose from during the annual retreat day. “Planning a retreat for 150 people is a daunting task,” explained Br. Hank. “While we all share in promoting our Catholic faith as members of the Marist community, each of us has different spiritual needs, and that’s where our updated retreat program stemmed from a couple of years ago.”
The faith formation committee, made up of Marist teachers and staff members, designed a day long annual retreat with more than a dozen sessions that represented a wide range of spiritual experiences. On campus there were sessions for sacred music, roundtable discussion on Catholic teachings, a documentary on the Church, yoga and meditation, prayer in practice at the school’s labyrinth, and spirituality as art through a ceramics class. Adults also headed off campus, taking pilgrimages to the Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Ind., the National Shrine of St. Therese in Darien, Ill., a historical church tour, and the University of Notre Dame. Employees also painted and worked with students at St. Margaret of Scotland in East Beverly, packed food at Catholic Charities, landscaped a prayer path at Portiuncula Center for Prayer in Frankfort, Ill., and participated in a team building exercise and high ropes course at Camp Manitoqua in Frankfort, Ill.
The workshop focused on how these options helped meet the needs of individuals from various backgrounds and at different stages of spiritual development. “The feedback we received from our teachers and staff members let us know we were on the right path,” Paprocki explained. “In previous years it was hard to satisfy everyone with one speaker or one activity. With this new design, adults were more engaged and satisfied with the day.”
The group spoke at the NCEA conference in hopes that they might help other schools design a more dynamic faith formation program for adults. “The adults at Marist are crucial to the faith formation of our young people,” said Br. Hank. “If the adults are not fed spiritually, then they can’t share their faith with the students.” The faith formation committee offers a number of events throughout the year for prayer, reflection, and group faith sharing.
NCEA is the largest private professional education organization in the world, and provides events and programming throughout the year for Catholic schools, organizations, institutions, and individuals.