Fifty-four members of the Senior class and five members of the Junior class from Archbishop John Carroll High School took time out of their coveted summer vacation to attend Kairos at the Malvern Retreat Center from June 17th-20th. Eleven alumni leaders and eleven adult leaders accompanied them on this special three and a half day religious retreat.
Kairos is the Greek word for time – “God’s time.” At Kairos, students put themselves on God’s time and connect with God and their classmates without the stress of daily to-do lists. The challenge of Kairos is to live out that message in everyday life.
The theme for the 2019-2020 Kairos retreat year is “High Hopes.” Fr. Mike Speziale who is head of Campus Ministry at Archbishop Carroll said, “We have high hopes for the members of the Class of 2020 and 2021. Kairos is an opportunity for our students to grow in their relationship with God, self, and others. We pray that they have the strength to Live the Fourth and follow through on the lessons they received from God and each other!”
One unique characteristic about summer Kairos is that Archbishop John Carroll alumni from the Class of 2019 facilitate the retreat. These alumni-leaders choose to return to lead students through this valuable experience.
Alumni leaders for Kairos 99 were: Julia Straface, Paige Mastripolito, Tom Hilden, Jaelen Parker, John Bushner, Tom Cavalcante, Mario D’Elia, Zoe McMahon, Jessica Sulouff, Erin Mahady, and Carla Pierini.
Alumni leader Paige Mastropolito ’19 commented that the summer retreat is special because “it shows the Juniors and Seniors how much the Kairos retreat meant to us and our enthusiasm for Carroll as a whole.” Mastropolito added that it was great working with the underclassmen and that they are “full of fantastic leaders who will do great things.”
Teachers and staff members also take time from their much-needed summer break to serve as adult leaders. Mrs. Judy Owens, a Biology teacher at Archbishop Carroll, has attended over twenty Kairos retreats. She explained that Kairos is an invaluable experience as it not only serves as a great opportunity for students to see the person behind the teacher but also “gives teachers insights into the lives of the students.”
Adult leaders for Kairos 99 were: Mr. Devin Gallagher, Ms. Nora McGeever, Mrs. Julia Young, Mr. John Woehlcke, Mrs. Maria Donovan, Mrs. Judy Owens, Mr. Bill Gennaro, Mr. Ron Cummings, Fr. Michael Speziale, and Fr. Mark Cavara.
Kairos 99 was a unique and special experience for several reasons.
Before the retreat, Fr. Speziale and the alumni leaders ran into Philadelphia Eagles football center Jason Kelce at the Apple Walnut Café. Kelce was happy to hear that Fr. Speziale used his 2018 Super Bowl Parade speech during the 2019 Baccaulareate Mass and was kind enough to take a picture with Fr. Speziale and our 2019 underdogs.
Another special part of Kairos 99 was that Nora McGeever, Head of Advancement at Archbishop Carroll and member of the Class of 2011, was able to serve as an adult leader after attending as a retreatant in 2010.
“I feel very fortunate to have experienced the Kairos retreat as a student my senior year and now as an Adult leader as we prepare for the 100th Kairos retreat at Carroll. Kairos was one of the highlights of my time at Carroll and it has positively impacted thousands of Carroll students throughout the years. I am grateful for the new perspectives I gained through this retreat and the opportunity to deepen my faith, relationships with my peers, and my connection to God’s role in my life,” explained Ms. McGeever.
Additionally, Mr. John Woehlcke, who has attended 11 Kairos retreats at Carroll, had the special experience of attending Kairos 99 with his daughter, Courtney ’20.
Mr. Woehlcke commented, “each Kairos retreat is unique and special in its own way but I was elated to be on the retreat with my daughter. She saw first hand why this program is so dear to my heart. My wife and I couldn’t be more pleased with our choice to send Courtney to Archbishop Carroll, despite being much closer to another diocesan high school.”
Courtney, who also had the unique experience of attending Kairos with a parent, said that it was one of the best four days of her life. “I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to go. I was able to strengthen my relationship with God and my classmates. Also, I learned a lot about myself and feel a lot closer to my school community.”
We are proud of all eighty-one members of our Carroll Community who attended Kairos 99. We know that they will continue to Live the Fourth, and we look forward to our 100th Kairos retreat in October!