Fall Freshman Retreat
This is a one-day mandatory retreat held at Xavier during a school day. The purpose of the retreat is to introduce the freshmen class to the Campus Ministry Program and the customs and rituals of Xavier’s spiritual life, such as team building, group discussions, prayer, reflection, and inspirational talks. It also serves as an introduction to the XBSS Network and the work of the brothers. Senior Peer Ministers facilitate small groups. Talks are given by both adults and senior Peer Ministers.
Fall & Spring Freshman Leadership Days
Dan Jaskot '98 of Empower Leadership comes to the school in the fall and spring for a variety of activities with the goal of getting the freshmen to know each other better, build bonds, practice teamwork, develop character and leadership.
This is a one-day mandatory retreat held at school on a Saturday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. The main focus of the retreat is relationships with God, self, parents, and friends. Short talks on each of these four relationships are given by adults and senior Peer Ministers. Group discussions are facilitated primarily by senior Peer Ministers with adults dropping in periodically. The day begins with experiential team-building activities facilitated by an outside agency and concludes with the Sunday Vigil Mass. Another key component of the day is a service project that includes team-building, strategizing, and working together, resulting in the production of about 350 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in Middletown.
This is an optional retreat in March held at a local retreat house from Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning. The theme is “An Upperclassman’s Journey: Becoming a Leader.” This retreat begins the process of becoming senior leaders at Xavier. All juniors are invited and encouraged to attend, especially if they currently hold or would like to hold leadership positions, such as being a senior Peer Minister, team captain, club or class officer, Big Falcon, or would just like to be a more effective senior leader.
The retreat, which includes Mass and Confession, is framed around the following “Qualities of a Good Christian Leader:” 1) makes the most of opportunity; 2) is self-reflective; 3) models Jesus Christ; 4) is a team player; 5) sets realistic goals; 6) takes responsibility for his actions; 7) overcomes obstacles; 8) looks for the good in every situation; 9) takes action. The retreat is facilitated by adult leaders with the assistance of a few senior Peer Ministers.
Six juniors are chosen to represent Xavier at the XBSS Junior Retreat each year. One senior, who attended as a junior, also is chosen to help facilitate the gathering of all XBSS schools that is held in March. The intent is to "grow in the understanding of the Xaverian mission, share best practices with other schools, and grow closer with our brothers and sisters in the XBSS Network,” says Director of Campus Ministry Peter Lyons.
The retreat, which starts on a Sunday night and ends on a Thursday morning, has various daily themes and messages, morning and evening prayer, small group discussions and recreation time, allowing students from all the XBSS schools to bond. A typical day starts with an 8 a.m. breakfast with lights out at 11:30 p.m. There also is a day of service, a major focus of all XBSS schools. To 2020 participant Finn Dowler, service means “putting others before yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing what is needed to be done and deserves to be done.”
Xavier Leadership Institute (XLI) For Seniors
This optional retreat, for those heading into their senior year, is held at a local retreat house and runs from Sunday night through Thursday night in mid-August. It includes two Masses, Confession, team activities, workshops, group work, team discussions, talks, prayer, and reflection.
Through committees, students run virtually all aspects of the retreat including overseeing wakeups and bedtime, planning recreational activities, planning and leading prayer, coordinating promotion of the following year’s XLI to the junior class, and ensuring the proper flow of the retreat. They process their leadership work in committees and small groups, learn to accept and receive constructive criticism, and make adjustments when necessary. This retreat also includes Xaverian Idol, the XLI Olympics, and an Alumni Night.
The first XLI was held in the summer of 1972.