A retreat intended to help high school- and college-aged young people connect more completely with Jesus Christ had its first session in the Archdiocese of Louisville last weekend.
Forty-six high school- and college-aged students participated in the archdiocese’s initial “Teens and 20s Encounter Christ” (TEC) retreat Aug. 4 to 6 at the Flaget Center, 1935 Lewiston Drive.
The weekend marked the 47th year of the TEC movement since it was founded in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1965, said Dr. Carole Goodwin, the TEC coordinator for the archdiocese and the archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry.
Originally an offshoot of the Cursillo movement, TEC is now active in more than 48 dioceses in the U.S. as well as in Canada, the Bahamas, Lithuania, Nicaragua and the Czech Republic, Goodwin said.
Goodwin and a number of people have been planning for two years to bring TEC to the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“This weekend is a fruition of a dream,” she said. “To offer something for young people and young adults that helps deepen their understanding of who Jesus is and how to be young disciples in the world that’s focused on the Paschal mystery is exciting.”
The Diocese of Evansville, Ind., where there is a very active TEC community, has been instrumental in the planning stages, Goodwin said. In fact, two busloads of people from the Diocese of Evansville, three vans of people from the Diocese of Owensboro and about a dozen people from the Archdiocese of Louisville attended a special Mass at St. Lawrence Church Sunday, Aug. 5, to pray for those participating in the TEC retreat.
Martha Schmitt from Jasper, Ind., said she traveled the nearly two hours to attend the Mass because she had “such a great experience” with TEC.
“I want it to be successful like it is in Evansville. It was such a great experience for me as an adult. If I could have had this growing up, I think my faith would have been so much stronger,” she said.
The three-day retreat, which is centered around the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is comprised of talks, small faith-sharing groups and opportunities for prayer and benediction.
Goodwin noted that the TEC movement relies heavily on a community of volunteers for the several gatherings throughout the year, including the two retreats.
“It couldn’t happen without them. This is a diocesan movement. It takes more than an office to make it happen. The people of the archdiocese are the ones who make it happen,” she said.
For instance, many of the meals were prepared by parish groups, including one at St. Bernard Church. Additionally, a Knights of Columbus council prepared breakfast one morning for the participants, and Valu-Mart donated hot dogs and buns for a meal.
Allison Ward, a junior at Bellarmine University and a parishioner at St. Michael Church, said that she is so used to leading retreats that it was refreshing to be a participant.
“It’s nice to be on retreat, to get myself in check with God,” Ward said.
Dorice Beausejour, a senior at the University of Louisville and a parishioner at St. Martin de Porres Church, said it was refreshing to listen to the speakers and realize others deal with some of the same issues she struggles with.
“God sends us signs. Sometimes we are too busy to recognize them. Sometimes it’s right there in front of you,” Beausejour said. “This weekend has helped me think about my faith. When I’m at school, I feel I’m getting disconnected. With this retreat and the (recent) National Black Catholic Congress, these two weekends have helped me find out who I am. Now I feel like I’m growing in my faith.”
The next TEC weekend will be Feb. 16 to 18. Teens who are 17 or have completed their first semester of junior year and college-aged young adults are invited to participate in the weekend retreats. For more information or to add your name to the TEC database in Louisville, contact Carole Goodwin by phone at 448-8581 or by email.
By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer