Kairos retreat first for Le Moyne
Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning “the right or the supreme moment” and it’s also the name of an extremely popular Christian retreat program for high school and college students that is being offered at Le Moyne for the first time. Le Moyne’s first Kairos retreat will take place from March 30 to April 1 at the Stella Maris Retreat Center in Skaneateles, N.Y.
Kairos is a retreat strongly rooted in Jesuit tradition, and many Le Moyne students who attended Jesuit high schools have already participated in Kairos, but that doesn’t mean that the entire student body knows details of the program. In fact, Kairos is a traditionally enigmatic retreat: returning retreatants don’t often share details, or describe the retreat to their friends.
According to Greg Mellor, campus minister for faith promotion and one of the organizers of the program, the retreat would lose some of its impact if participants knew about all the aspects beforehand.
“For retreats in general, there is a level of confidentiality and respect,” Mellor said. “And for Kairos, a safe space is created for participants, so they can explore who they are and explore their spirituality.”
Senior Courtney Phoenix, who is the student director of the retreat, agreed, explaining, “It creates this awesome community, and we want participants to experience it for themselves first.”
Junior Casey Plummer, who participated in Kairos at her Jesuit high school, used the well-known term “kai-high” to describe the feeling of community the group feels after returning from Kairos.
According to the program’s Facebook page, at the retreat “students will have ample opportunities for reflection and contemplation, as well as forming new friendships with previously unfamiliar peers.”
As opposed to other Le Moyne retreats, which have focused on a specific theme, Kairos is a general retreat of contemplation and reflection. Likewise, it is not strictly a Catholic retreat.
“It’s definitely open to people of all faiths,” said Phoenix.
Over the past few years, a small contingent of students have been striving to bring the Kairos retreat program to Le Moyne. Last year, eight Le Moyne students participated in one of Fairfield Univerity’s Kairos retreat. Phoenix, one of the participants, cited Dr. Deborah Cady Melzer, Le Moyne’s vice president for Student Development and one-time dean of Student Development at Fairfield, as one of the main proponents of Kairos at Le Moyne.
The eight Le Moyne students who attended the Fairfield retreat are now student leaders for Le Moyne’s upcoming program. One of Kairos’ distinguishing factors is that the retreat is almost entirely student-run.
Interested students should pick up an application at campus ministry, or from one of the informational tables outside the cafeteria. According to Phoenix, the application is just so the student leaders can get to know the applicants and see how much the students know about the program. The deadline for applications is Feb. 17.
Sophomore Jessica Urso, another participant of the Fairfeld Kairos, encourages all students to apply, even if they are a little unsure.
“Taking the risk will culminate into what I hope is a rewarding and insightful weekend for the retreatants,” she said. “[the leaders] are committed to making this a successful and awesome weekend.”
“College is all about trying new things — it’s a leap of faith,” added Phoenix.