SIDNEY — The senior class at Lehman Catholic High School will take a break from AP classes and college applications this month to shift to a different focus. The students will attend their senior religious retreat at the Bergamo Center in Dayton Dec. 8-11. A religious retreat during the senior year is a requirement for graduation from Lehman.
The retreat — called Kairos — is a 3 1/2-day overnight experience geared to high school seniors. Many Catholic high schools across the country use the Kairos model for their senior retreats. This is the 22nd year that Lehman has used the program but for the first several years, the class was divided into two groups for fall and spring retreats. Now the entire class attends together and this will mark the 36th Lehman Kairos retreat.
Kairos is the Greek word for time — “God’s time.” In Scripture, Kairos is a time of salvation. In the context of the retreat, Kairos means a time away from chronos or clock time, the ordinary day-to-day time in which we follow schedules and become immersed in tasks to be completed. At Kairos, the students put themselves on God’s time and connect with God and their classmates without the stress of daily to-do lists. The challenge of Kairos is to live out that message in everyday life.
Joe Schmiesing, Lehman faculty member who is again organizing this year’s retreat, said that Kairos is a time for the students to “gain a deeper faith and an encounter with Jesus Christ.”
“Students are challenged during the retreat to break through the walls that are usually up between themselves and others,” he said. “The hope is that the spirit of Kairos will extend beyond today, beyond senior year, and into the rest of their lives.”
One unique characteristic about the Kairos program is that the retreat is facilitated by the students themselves. Students chosen to be leaders of this year’s retreat attended Kairos 35 last year as juniors to prepare to lead this retreat. A group of juniors are attending this retreat with the seniors to prepare to lead Kairos 37 for their class next December.
Student leaders for Kairos 36 are Nathan Bosway, Diana Gibson, Caroline Heitmeyer, Nicholas Neumeier, Adriana Sehlhorst, Connor Thobe, Adam Vanderhorst and Ana Vazquez. Adult leaders from the Lehman staff who are attending Kairos 36 are Joe Schmiesing, Ashley Minnich, Leah Bertke, Sister Ginny Scherer and the Rev. James Riehle. Several other staff members who have never been on a Kairos retreat will be attending as observers. They are Kim Koverman, Tony Wagner and Missy Bennett.
Junior students who will be attending the retreat to train for next year are Jacob Schmiesing, John Henry Frantz, Eli Baker, Dylan Arnold, Sidney Chapman, Kaitrin O’Leary, Hannah Fogt and Kara Gillman.