High school parishioners from St. Patrick Church in Anchorage took part in a Teens ACTS Retreat last month at St. Therese’s Camp in Wasilla.
The Aug. 8-11 event included 10 teens from St. Patrick Church, along with an ACTS team from Texas which helped run the event. The Texas team included 13 teens and 12 adults.
A Teens ACTS Retreat is similar to the more well-known men and women’s ACTS Retreats. They all stress the importance of adoration, community, theology, and service (ACTS). In a teen retreat, adults assist youth as they step up and lead their peers during the four-day gathering. Months before the retreat, two teens are chosen to be director and co-director of the retreat. At St. Patrick’s the parish’s youth leadership team and other young adults worked with the teen leaders to prepare to lead small groups. “The goal of ACTS is to get people to the point of initial conversion, We want to create an opportunity for the Lord to enter into their hearts through shared prayer, shared fellowship, shared learning, and shared service,” said Paige Christensen, who serves as the director of youth ministry at St. Patrick’s. “This is not a new idea. If we look to Scripture we see that Jesus was doing exactly this with his Apostles. Once they come back from retreat, it is our job to integrate them into parish life. We place them in a small group, which helps them grow in their relationship with the Lord and prepares them to be missionary disciples.