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Gonzaga College

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Dublin 6


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In Gonzaga we are committed to the growth and development of the boys in a range of knowledge and learning experiences, including the faith dimension of their lives. The purpose of the R.E. programme and the Retreats as part of it, is to integrate the spiritual with the personal development of the student, as well as to build up a Christian community, in the class and in the school. Faith formation is not a mysterious process. In the main, it follows the developmental patterns as other modes of learning. Spiritual growth requires exposure to spiritual values and information and most particularly, spiritual experience. This latter is what the retreat programme provides.


Fifth Year:
This is the only year for whom the retreat is optional. It is a demanding four-day experience and thus not for everyone.

The retreat is called Kairos [God’s time] and explores one’s relationships with self, significant others and God. It demonstrates how by becoming more authentic and sincere, it is possible to develop a real and life-changing relationship with God, which positively affects our interactions with others. There are two Kairos retreats, catering for sixty two pupils. The retreats take place at the Jesuit Spirituality Centre, Manresa Retreat House, Clontarf, D.3.

Kairos XXIX September 2013

Sixth Year:
The programme includes:

Lourdes Pilgrimage---Six boys participate by acting as brancardiers.

Retreat Week: Pupils choose from a range of explored options:

A two day group retreat at the Dominican Priory, Tallaght.

A four day Young Adult retreat in Dowdstown House, Dalgan Park, Navan

A four day Monastic retreat at a Cistercian abbey: Mellifont Abbey, Mount Melleray Abbey or Bolton Abbey.

Apart from the Monasteries, the programme focuses on self-awareness, personal development and affirmation, group interaction, prayer, reflection and service of others

Transition Year:
Because the class groups alter in TY, it is the ideal opportunity at the end of Junior Cycle to explore relationships within the class and year groups. To enhance the effect, we try to host these retreats on Mondays rather than in the middle of the school week. Each of the four classes spends one full day examining personal, group and faith issues with a team of facilitators at the Dominican Retreat Centre, Tallaght.

Third Year:
The Third Year’s retreat takes place ‘in house’. It comprises a class-based day of Prayer, Reflection and Music. The material is presented in a stimulating and enjoyable way, so that the experience is enriching and informative, while being simultaneously enjoyable. It introduces the boys to a wider learning and human perspective and helps them to achieve it.

The 3A,3B,3C,3D retreats run through December and January.

Second Year:
This retreat is provided in the school by the Scripture Union Team.
The theme is Adolescence, which is looked at from a variety of human and faith viewpoints.

First Year:
This retreat has been devised and is administered by the Sixth Year students to the four First Year class groups.

It is an initiation into the life of secondary school with particular emphasis on Gonzaga. Themes include: Jesuit Ethos, Community, Rugby, Co. Curricular, Social, Faith [Prayer and Reflection].

It is a deliberate policy of the school to have retreats running throughout the academic year. This helps to integrate faith formation as an inherent part of the general development of the pupils rather than have it seen as separate from or outside the normal developmental process. An attempt is also made to convey the insight of St. Ignatius of Loyola that God can be found, not just in ritual and religious formation, but ‘in all things’.