The “Luke 18” retreat model for 6th-8th-graders is used in many areas. The model, according to adult team coleaders Kristine Lamons and Randy Riesenberger is a weekend long retreat inviting this group of young people into the Church — to help them see that they are not only the future of our Church, but they are also the Church right now. The program welcomes youth — “Lukers” — into the Church by helping them experience God and his love. Through high-energy games, skits, songs, personal sharing, and a series of talks given by high school students, the “Lukers” are encouraged to have fun and grow in their faith.”
This particular Luke 18 was held Feb. 5-7 at Notre Dame Academy-St. Mary campus in Belleville.
With 42 youth leaders from Cathedral, Corpus Christi, St. Augustine, St. Henry, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph-Lebanon, St. Mary, St. Nicholas, and St. Teresa and who attend school at Althoff, East, West, O’Fallon, SLUH, Lebanon, and Collinsville, as well as some college students from SLU, SIUE, Illinois State, and McKendree, the team was excited and anxious to begin.
The Lukers came from Blessed Sacrament, Cathedral, Queen of Peace, St. Augustine, St. Clare, St. Dominic, St. Henry, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph-Lebanon, St. Joseph-Freeburg, St. Mary, St. Michael-Paderborn, and St. Teresa.
Some youth attend Catholic school at All Saints Academy, Blessed Sacrament, Notre Dame, Queen of Peace, St. James and St. Teresa; some are homeschooled, and others attend public school at Abraham Lincoln, Belle Valley, Emge, Freeburg, High Mount, Jefferson, Lebanon, New Athens, Red Bud, Roosevelt, Signal Hill, Smithton, Waterloo, West Jr. High, Whiteside and Wolf Branch.
The theme for this retreat was Jurassic Park, but the goal was for young people in high school and college to work with the younger folks to teach them to look within and find themselves and God.
Joshua Duncan, a senior at St. Louis University led his group with questions like: If you were an animal, what kind would you be? If you were a body of water, what would that be.
Lukers began to find the rhythm of the questions, and the depth of their answers grew.
The success of the retreat, the adult team leaders said, lies with the youth guiding the retreat and the Lukers themselves.
“Luke 18 is special because it is youth ministering to youth. High school students (referred to as “Disciples”) give talks about things that are important to youth right now and help them find ways to welcome God into their everyday lives. The success of the retreat will come from the high school teens and the ‘Lukers’ coming with an open mind and heart,” they said.