A Caring Community: An Antioch Reflection

Antioch was a wonderful experience.

I did not expect it to be. I had never been on a retreat before and thought that, from what I had heard about them, they weren’t for me. I expected that Antioch would simply be a pleasant change of pace at best and an uncomfortable weekend that would leave me pining for schoolwork at worst, but it turned out to be a transformative experience.

The talks were inspirational. I can say without a doubt that they were among the strongest examples of faith in God in the face of hardships that I have ever heard outside of the lives of saints. The conversations I had throughout the retreat during small group discussions, meals and breaks drew me into a spiritual community that I did not realize I was lacking. The experiences, which I do not wish to possibly spoil by going into detail about them, will become lasting memories for everyone involved.  It is an entire chapter in the book of a person’s life.

The time away from schoolwork and other distractions in life allowed me to focus more strongly on God than I think I ever have. About a week later, I cannot say this focus is as strong as it was on the retreat, it has lasted, and it will continue to last. Thanks to the efforts and prayers of the Antioch team members, I can say that I am now more focused on my faith than before.

That focus is not the only result of Antioch for me. The community I found there is still here with me and will be there when I need reaffirmation of faith, support in troubled times or simply a helping hand. It is at Wednesday night mass, in campus ministry and throughout the entire college. Going to Antioch has, above everything else, helped me to find a place in the Loras community.

I cannot say that everyone who goes on Antioch will enjoy every moment of it (I did not), but I can promise an enriching weekend that will draw anyone who goes on it closer to the Loras community and to God. Thanks to everyone on team and the candidates alike. Antioch is an experience worth having, so I hope everyone reading this considers going next school year.

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