Catholic quandaries frame new retreat

Michael Mazzuca
Staff Writer

Campus Ministry at The University has developed several new retreats over the last three years.

Campus Minister Fred Mercadante and juniors Genny Francis and Chris Kilner will continue this by collaborating to be leaders on the new Mystery Retreat on Sept. 25-27 at Chapman Lake. Students can sign up in the Campus Ministries office.

Students will question the nature of the Church in two primary methods, said Mercadante. He said that retreatents will be questioning how to apply all the theology learned here at The University to everyday life of a college student and reflecting on personal experience.

“It’s looking at both simultaneously (Catholic tradition and personal experience) and weighing the two, putting them right next to each other,” Mercadante said. “This is my experience and this is the experience of Christians over the past 2000 years. Let’s see where they match, let’s see where they don’t.”

However, not all questions will be answered. Leaders stress that it is okay to come back on Sunday still puzzled about Roman Catholicism. Mercadante wants people to know that this retreat will not display characteristics of “apologetics.”

In other words, students who signed up for the retreat can expect that many questions will not be answered immediately.

Mercadante noted students will not receive a “textbook Catholic answer.”

Mercadante carried this retreat over from his time working at Clemson University. The retreat was for juniors and seniors who sought to develop a better understanding of their faith. After finding success there, he thought it would be a good idea to add it to Campus Ministry’s list of retreats.

This retreat will ask small groups to formulate questions that will be addressed to everyone on the retreat, which is something unique.

Leaders of the Mystery Retreat want students who do not practice Catholicism to know that the weekend will be a great experience.

“Take a risk; take a chance to come on the retreat if you’re struggling or even if you’re in a strong place,” junior Francis said.

“This is a safe place to develop and grow so know that there will be other people with you.”

Francis described several topics that will be addressed on the retreat. For example, “what is it like bringing scripture (in your life).”

Mercadante and the rest of the leaders know that students will come in to Chapman Lake unsure of what to expect and leave with questions unanswered.

“They may come out of this retreat with more questions than answers. What we’re going to do is be okay with that,” Mercadante said.

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