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Sixth Year Retreats 2020

We are delighted that despite the current restrictions the college once more will offer 6th Year retreats in a variety of formats, which have the central objective of helping each student to reflect, at this more mature age, on his daily human experience of life. What are your life principles and core values? What is the meaning of your life and how do you live it? Ignatius of Loyola asks a fundamental life question “What do you desire?”

As far as possible and in accordance with health and safety guidelines, we try to accommodate as many as possible with their preferred options. Students may opt for a combination* of retreat experiences, as long as they do not overlap. This year the following retreat formats will be offered here on the grounds of Gonzaga College SJ between Wednesday, 25th and Friday, 27th November 2020.

1) Taizé Prayer in the Chapel with Chaplain Fiona Owens (Wednesday)

Taizé Prayer is a simple, meditative form of worship, calling us to dwell deeply on Christ's presence around and within us. Mantra songs (like "Jesus, Remember Me"), prayerful silence, and short readings guide the focus of the prayer in a candle-lit environment. Taizé Prayer is named for the ecumenical Christian community formed in Taizé, France during World War II. Today the Taizé community attracts young retreatants from around the world and from all Christian denominations, including Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions.

Prayer services á 40 minutes will be offered in the chapel on Wednesday, 25th November at 14:15, 15:15 and the final one taking place at 16:15.

* this retreat experience should be combined with a second retreat scheduled on Thursday and/or Friday.

2) Silent retreat directed by Pat Corkery SJ (Thursday & Friday)

In the past groups travelled to Mellifont Abbey and Mt Melleray Abbey to experience the quiet reflective life of the monks. This year Pat Corkery SJ will direct this reflective silent retreat. For it one needs to be comfortable with extended periods of silence and be prepared to learn how to pray, as well as deeply and honestly reflect. Individual spiritual direction is also available where requested. It is a day retreat based on the four-weeks of St Ingatius’ Spiritual Exercises. This retreat assumes a basic faith in God, even if it has not been developed, or a desire to attain such faith. There are periods of speaking as well as silence.

* this retreat experience should be combined with one Taizé prayer session on Wednesday.

3) “What is your dream?” A shorter version of the Daniel-McNelis-Retreat directed by Myles O’Reilly SJ and Elisabeth Clarke (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)

This is a personally directed interactive retreat in the Ignatian tradition, with individual and group prayer, bonding exercises, sharing and reflection. For this retreat one needs to be comfortable sharing feelings as well as ideas. This retreat is limited to a maximum number of 18 participants.

4) “Contemplatives in Action” Retreat directed by Callum Douglas (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)

The retreat will be led by the Faber Companions and supported by past pupils. The aim of the Contemplatives in Action retreat is to explore the Ignatian approach to living a full life: outward effort and good works are best motivated by an inward sense of peace and self-understanding. Many cultures have similar coming-of-age rituals, all designed to help young men access an outer strength born of inner sensitivity. The retreat draws influence from these practices and will offer students a chance to leave their comfort-zones and experience something of the deep freedom found in courageous vulnerability.

5) “Responding to Injustice” Retreat directed by Clare O’Brien-Quinn (Friday)

The retreat, Responding to Injustice, is about looking at the state of the world and learning how to serve it more effectively in your adult life. In Gonzaga you will have learned about being “men for and with others”, but this retreat makes space to renew your commitment to make the world a better place. The Responding to Injustice retreat asks you to look beyond your own need and wants, as Jesus did. All this is experienced in the context of your own dreams, which may be to further study, form a career, create a family and nourish your own life.

* this retreat experience can be combined with a second retreat scheduled on Wednesday and/or Thursday (subject to availability).

Forms are can be downloaded here and have to be handed in or emailed to Ms Clarke ( by Tuesday, 17thNovember 2020.

The logistics document is also attached.

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