year 8 retreat theme for catholic school facilitator

Year 8 or 9 Catholic School Retreat

Retreat Theme:  Healthy Relationships and Confidence

Retreat Scripture

You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the world.  Let your light shine before others.  (Matthew 5: 13 -16)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Theological and Pastoral Focus

Inspired by Jesus’ sermon on the mount, your students will deepen their understanding of how to build positive relationships and self-confidence as a ‘Salt of the Earth’ and ‘Light of the World’ person. Being a ‘Salt of the Earth’ person is explored as one who shares their gifts to make the world a better place (flavour of salt), protects the vulnerable and preserves their goodness (preserving nature of salt), heals the suffering in others (healing properties of salt) and knows they are of great worth (salt was high in value in the time of Jesus). Being a ‘Light of the World’ person is to grow in confidence as we learn to love and be loved, develop our skills and talents and share our gifts generously. The input and activities draw on Noble Gospel Values, Catholic theological anthropology and evidence-based recommendations from research on resilience and relationships.  

The input and activities weave wisdom found in:

  • Catholic theological anthropology (especially from Bernard Lonergan)
  • Catholic Social Teachings (especially the principles of human dignity and common good) through storytelling about Project Kindy in Malawi, Africa
  • Christian virtue ethics philosophy: role models, Gospel-inspired noble values
  • Evidence-based wellbeing activities: articulate values, resilience, relationships, confidence
  • The students’ own reflections on their life experience and their community
  • Ignatian spirituality: reflecting on their spirituality in everyday life experiences

Retreat Activities

Your students will be invited to:

  • Play and reflect on confidence-building team games
  • Reflect on stories and lessons from the facilitator and their own life experience
  • Sing a fun, gospel-themed song together
  • Create a special ‘Salt Bottle’ and ‘Light Tag’ to serve as a reminder of their calling to be ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light of the world’ people
  • Practice a modified version of the Ignatian Examen of daily life
  • Pray individually and as a group
year 8 and year 9 school retreat for catholic students

Group Prayer Activity:  Your students will write prayers on special ‘salt of the earth’ themed prayer cards and then will share with the group.  They will acknowledge the goodness they see in others, pray for the suffering and vulnerable, pray for the grace to live as “Salt of the Earth” people and give thanks to God. 

Individual Craft Prayer Activity:  Your students will create special ‘Salt Bottles’ with their choice and combination of coloured salts poured into a 20ml mini glass jar with cork.  They will create a ‘Light Tag’ for the neck of the bottle with a sparkle-paper symbol of an activity that lights them up and writing a commitment for how they will be ‘salt of the earth’ for their community.

Games: Your students will enjoy learning through experience in a number of games that invite them to grow in confidence, show respect for each other, protect the ‘vulnerable’ character in the games, communicate and work together.