It has become something of a tradition for seniors at Cristo Rey St. Martin to spend their one-day senior retreat at the Viatorian Province Center. With its large meeting room, intimate chapel and rolling grounds, the facility offers a secluded space, away from their school, for seniors to contemplate their growth over the last four years.

Seniors traditionally pose for a group shot outside of the Province Center (photos by Jim Dippold)

“It’s one last time before graduation to reflect on the journey at CRSM,” says Jim Dippold, Campus Ministry Director, “to celebrate the incredible growth — academically, professionally, personally and spiritually — and to give thanks for the beautiful relationships that have nurtured and supported them along the way.”

The retreat started with seniors hearing the story of Jesus’ appearance to his friends on the road to Emmaus, and how the disciples didn’t recognize that it was the risen Jesus with them until they reached their destination and broke bread together.

“Seniors did a little bit of the same,” Dippold says, “taking time to recognize and give thanks for the mysterious and sometimes hidden ways that God has been with them over the last four years along the way.”

The day also included celebrating by playing a few games, sharing stories and creating collages on tiles that captured their personal reflections and gratitude.

Their retreat concluded in the Province Center Chapel, where seniors sat on the floor for a Taize prayer-style service, complete with a candle-lit setting, scripture passages and reflections.

The retreat is not all work and no play.

This year’s graduating class is the fifth in a row to earn 100% acceptance into a four-year college. Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial, will celebrate their Baccalaureate Mass with them on May 25 before the graduation ceremony that follows.

Viatorians have been an endorsing community of Cristo Rey St. Martin since its opening in 2004 and they continue to actively support the school and its mission, to empower young people of limited means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service.

“The Viatorians are an essential part of who we are at CRSM,” Dippold says. “They have a significant impact on our Catholic identity – encouraging us to live as a vibrant faith community that prays together and puts our faith into action by working for justice and social change.”