What is a young Maltfriscans’ retreat like?
This year’s Edale was to be a challenge. The forearm* made it clear that they wanted a change, a less predictable program, something new. And so, we journeyed in joy through the weekend.
We arrived on Friday ready to lead, two of us to lead groups and one of us for a long weekend in the kitchen. Pizza was in order (which brought instant joy of course) and we were soon off on a prayer journey of reflection and contemplation. Three stations allowed full exploration of our weekend’s theme, and especially the day’s theme: how Jesus brings us joy. One station was to paint the three letters of “JOY” with the various things that bring us joy. Night prayer came, and Sinéad came, the first day.
An early morning prayer opened the second day of our journey in joy. Of course the toast helped too. Our second theme of joy (how we can bring others joy) kicked off with Emmaus walks up the mountains of Edale, and with Greg and Matt leading the way we were confident that nothing would go wrong! After various shenanigans on the mountain side, we set off upstream. Little did we know that the waterfall of love would be flowing in the wrong direction, and so back down stream we went. Upon return, one was banished to the kitchen to prepare a picnic lunch whilst the two group leaders went with their groups to write postcards to the people in their lives who most bring them joy. After lunch, we revealed that the three painted letters were hidden and that the group had until Mass to find them. The location of the “O” confused the young people no end (probably because it was under Matt’s bed) but they soon cottoned on that bringing joy to the team would reveal the missing letter! A wonderful Mass with Fr Kieran Fletcher and Kayla’s world famous lasagne kicked off a brilliant night of celebration, ending in a pyjama party (pictured) and night prayer of the Church. Hot chocolate came, and bed time came, the second day.
Weary eyes and heavy hearts greeted our last day of retreat, but Ben’s toast soon cheered things up. The cheer however was short lived as the young people remembered their favourite task of the year: clean up! We divided and conquered, cleaning the house with speed unbecoming of teenagers south of the noon line. Affirmations came next, as we contemplated what brings us joy personally, “yourselves” being the theme of the day. Finding joy in the things others write about us has been an important part of the retreat in the past, and this year was no different. Before our farewell lunch we presented awards to one another, such as “soundest technician” for Luke Johnson. The tears came, and parents came, the third day.
All three days had their individual theme, Jesus, Others, Yourselves, leading us to our weekend’s theme JOY. Our short journey in joy brought us closer as a group, and we fully intend to bring joy to the rest of the community come the summer!
*ARM stands for Area Representatives Meeting. They meet during the year with the Spiritual Guardian and those assigned particular roles within the community.
The forearm is the Young Maltfriscans equivalent. ^