Retreat Brings Together Students From 13 XBSS Schools

They are long days. They are meaningful days.

“One of the most meaningful aspects of the retreat is a sense of being part of something bigger than yourselves,” said Jim Conley, the longtime Campus Ministry Director at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass. “It is connecting with the larger XBSS community, and the relationships that result from that as well as the exchange of ideas about what is happening at the different schools, and giving the students an opportunity to bring those things back to their own school.”

The XBSS Junior Retreat brings together six juniors and a senior leader from each of the schools. Representing Xavier are juniors Luke Anderson, Dominic Cusano, Sam Enes, Nick Miano, Patrick Mitchill, and Brendan Peary. The senior leader is Colin Loria.  Assistant Campus Ministry Director John Guinan is the adult leader.

The Xavier students echoed the thoughts of Conley, saying it was great to be with other students from XBSS schools, listening to and learning from each other, and having beneficial small group discussions.

Wednesday started with an 8 a.m. breakfast and an 8:30 prayer service. It would end with a 10:30 p.m. prayer service.  The retreat, which started Sunday and ends Thursday at Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center in West Hartford, packs a lot into its time frame.

Wednesday was about service as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the Xaverian tradition.

“Charity is fantastic,” said one presenter. “It is what you all do on a regular basis. You address the problem head on. We go to the soup kitchen, the shelter, we serve in those capacities and then we go home. The justice part is stopping the root cause, why we have to go to those charities, those homes, those shelters … stopping it in its tracks, and today we will learn about how to do that, at least beginning to talk about that.”

As he looked around the room he spoke of the different cultures and backgrounds and experiences represented by all the students, and how each of the 13 XBSS schools should think about how best to serve their communities, seeking that justice while serving the marginalized and the forgotten.

At the opening of the session on diversity, Ben Horgan of the XBSS offices relayed a few historical stories from the XBSS schools, including the time St. Xavier of Louisville reached out and played Louisville Central in football before Kentucky integrated. Central was an all-black school that at the time could not play the other local schools. A bold move by St. Xavier.