JC2 Retreat: The Journey Begins
Each year, the JC2 retreat carves out much-needed space amidst the hectic College calendar and preparation for the A-Levels, making space for all who attend to rest, reflect, and be renewed. In doing so, the development of the spirituality of students that enter CJC also drives their academic achievement, in line with CJC’s ethos of spurring on holistic growth in its students. Titled The Journey Begins, the retreat this year saw 140 JC2 students reflect on their CJC journey thus far, and in encountering God and others around them along the way, prepare themselves to continue journeying with renewed vigour and hope.
The JC2 retreat began with an introspective look at the self, enabled by a journey through a labyrinth. As much as the winding and twisting paths of the labyrinth parallel the often lengthy and seemingly futile search for identity, meaning, or even answers, finding their way to the heart of the labyrinth gave students the opportunity to centre themselves by reflecting on their struggles, faith, values, and/or relationships with those around them. Likewise, the films screened whilst the labyrinth walk was ongoing also generated the same reflective and contemplative mood necessary for entering the retreat and making the most of it.
With the labyrinth and films setting the tone for the rest of the retreat, the journey continued with a series of sessions the following day. Hailing from different backgrounds, the students had a choice of sessions intended to facilitate a deeper appreciation for and understanding of their respective faith or belief systems. With trust in God’s ability to meet each of their needs, regardless of how diverse they are, the students were given the autonomy to decide how to move onwards in their journey during the retreat. While some chose to maintain the posture of reflection, yet there were others who lifted their voices in praise, or expressed creativity through the work of their hands.
Interestingly, the students’ choice of workshops was also a reflection of their individuality, which, in the remaining sessions of the retreat, was the starting point for positioning the students vis-à-vis their community. By examining their personal relationships with God and others, and by acknowledging their unique gifts that can be used in service of others, the students went even further on their journey as they moved from an inward-looking to an outward-looking search for purpose and direction.Fittingly, the entire College community gathered for Mass, celebrated by Father Gregory Tan, S.J., in the final hours of the retreat. With God’s provision, the blessing of the parents, and the dedicated support of the staff and 44 alumni facilitators who ministered to the students, the retreat could run its course and be a powerful experience for all that attended, which bears testament to the gift that community is, and the life that can spring forth from it when it acts in truth and love.