Story by Michael Jacobeen
Since 2009, Conquest St. Timothy’s parish in Chantilly, VA has been helping with the CCD program’s First Holy Communion Retreat. This year, however, they teamed up with the Challenge club to organize the entire morning event. Several of the high school team leaders from both Conquest and Challenge groups gathered a few weeks before the event to brainstorm activities and plan out the half-day retreat. The result of the planning was a fun mix of games, crafts, and formative activities. As the 2nd graders arrived in the morning, one of the Conquest or Challenge members immediately paired up with each of them and helped them to decorate their name tags. Later, the Conquest boys presented a skit about St. Tarcisius, and one of the Challenge team leaders, who also teaches a 2nd grade CCD class, gave a short talk about the Mass and the Eucharist.
Next, the children worked to assemble a construction paper monstrance as the Conquest and Challenge members helped. One of the highlights of the morning was when Fr. Philip Cozzi, one of the parochial vicars of the parish, brought the children into the Sacristy to show them his vestments and the sacred vessels used in Mass. Enthusiastically, the kids peppered Fr. Cozzi with questions and one of the 2nd grade boys commented to one of the adults, “this is really cool!” Maria Ho, the Director of Religious Education, was thrilled with the job the Conquest and Challenge members did in leading the retreat commenting, “It was the best retreat we ever had! My sincere ‘thank you’ to all the young ladies in the Challenge Club and the young men in the Conquest Club. They are such a good group of youth following the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”