As schools prepare for the upcoming year, many of the challenging dynamics of COVID that impacted formation of students are dissipating. Mask mandates, social distancing requirements and capacity restrictions all impacted schools’ ability to offer students formation experiences that help them to connect with God and one another.
It is crucial for schools to prepare now for the upcoming school year and put into place the necessary logistics in order to successfully execute retreats, mission trips, and service opportunities that will help the students and staff to grow. Administrators should keep in mind that the loss of the past year means that Campus Ministers could be a little “rusty” at doing these activities. Encouraging Campus Ministers to plan and prepare during the summer months could be key to actually finding availability at retreat centers, booking speakers, etc. Additionally, retreats and other formation opportunities offer students the ability to spiritually and socially connect after a year which, for many, resulted in profound isolation. It is vitally important for principals and other school leaders to encourage these fulfilling opportunities to happen.
Catholic schools have a unique responsibility and opportunity to create a “Culture of Encounter” (Pope Francis) and allow it to permeate their communities. What preparations are you making?
Father Paul Kostka