As a member of the Xavier wrestling program, Luke Tischio knows all about a physical challenge.
It helps build character, he says.
So does the XBSS Retreat currently being held at the Holy Family Passionate Retreat Center in West Hartford.
Tischio was one of six Xavier juniors selected for the retreat. The others are Sam Baker, Luke Bassett, Mike Bevilacqua, Mark Grasso and Jack Weinheimer. The senior leader representing Xavier is Sam Norris and one of the facilitators is Director of Campus Ministry Peter Lyons.
The 13 Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools (XBSS) come together for this four-day event.
"It's a way to understand how other Xaverian schools do things and how they live out the Xaverian values," Tischio said. "It's a great way to meet people, share and reflect. It's a time to examine your relationship with God and know other people are going through challenges."
Learn and yearn for more, grow and help others grow.
The Xavier juniors were chosen on recommendations from the faculty. They had to submit an application and were interviewed by Campus Ministry and a senior who had attended last year.
Wednesday started with breakfast, a time to spend with other students from the various XBSS schools. All the students are spread out; in other words no more than one Xavier student was at any table.
After breakfast came an Ash Wednesday service in the chapel. The messages were familiar: God is merciful, loving and forgiving ... Open your eyes, ears and hearts ... live a life of service and action. Yet contained in these short sentences are words long on meaning.
Service was the theme of the day. After the service in the chapel came service in the Greater Hartford area. Groups spread out to various places. Before they left, two students spoke of the importance of service to them, each touched by what they had done.
One student was born in the Ukraine but ended up in an orphanage before being adopted. Here in the U.S. his adoptive father died when he was young, so he helped in any way he could around the house and extended that to the wider world as he got older.
As he said, at an XBSS school, "we learn, we lead, we serve."
Another exercise on this day would be writing a letter to all Xaverian Brothers expressing gratitude for their service.