- In the spring semester, groups of St. John’s freshmen gather for day-long retreats at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD. The freshman retreat carries the theme “Our Lasallian Identity.”
- As students reflect the heritage of St. John Baptist De La Salle and how that will affect their high school years to come, they consider questions such as “Who can I depend on in difficult times?” and “What is God’s plan for my life?”
- During talks from faculty and Peer Ministers, freshmen learn that the highs and lows of high school are a journey toward adulthood and adult faith—a journey that they make with the support of classmates, family, teachers, and their faith in God.
- Prayer is the main theme of the sophomore retreat, held at Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center.
- Sophomores break into small groups and learn different types of prayer to take with them as they continue their journey at St. John's. Topics discussed through activities and talks is the way that prayer has affected their peers and the faculty leaders.
- The junior retreat is about choices. Junior year marks a new step in St. John's retreat program, because students stay overnight at Priestfield Retreat Center in Kearneysville, WV.
- After juniors arrive in the evening, they meet in small groups to discuss both simple and complicated choices and how they can learn from their choices, whether good or bad. The central goal of the retreat is to become more aware of the ways each choice a student makes affects not only them, but those around them.
- Through reflection, students gain a more inclusive picture of their contributions to the world and the ways that God manifests himself.
Junior retreats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Permission slips will be distributed in the Office of Mission & Ministry closer to each retreat date.
While the Kairos Retreat has been utilized by St. John’s since 2002, the retreat has a history of more than 40 years. Kairos is the Greek word that means “God’s time.”
- According to Trinity College in Washington, Kairos was first utilized as a Christian Awakening Program by the Diocese of Brooklyn (NY) in 1965. The program was adopted as a Cursillo program for teenagers. As Kairos was instituted at Catholic schools in the Midwest, the program underwent several changes.
- The current Kairos format was developed in 1979 at Loyola Academy, a Jesuit high school in Wilmette, IL. By the mid-1990s, 20 Jesuit schools used the Kairos Program. At the same time, non-Jesuit schools around the world began to discover Kairos.
- The Kairos Retreat continues to be a highlight for seniors. Four Kairos retreats are offered each year in order to accommodate each student's academic and extracurricular activities. The retreats are held at the Loyola Retreat House on the shores of the Potomac River in southern Maryland.
The senior retreats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. In-season athletes should plan to attend out of season. Permission slips will be available online closer to each retreat.
These seminars are a response to the concerns of St. John's faculty and the evident needs of our student body. They are meant to be structured, but “living” programs that provide time and space for students to learn about, wrestle with and be guided to appropriate conclusions regarding issues and concepts that are relevant to their particular culture and stage of life and development.
The curriculum is designed to evoke a Christian response—a sense of responsibility out of gratitude for love, privilege and giftedness rather than a response based in fear and selfishness.