By Nile Jones
I want to invite high school juniors, seniors and college freshmen to TEC (Teens Encounter Christ), a three-day retreat experience. For the past three years, I’ve attended and volunteered at the TEC retreat. It has made a permanent change in my faith life, as it has in others.
When I was first asked to consider making TEC, I was a little skeptical. I had heard some amazing things about it from other people, but I had trouble believing it all. Let me tell you that everything I heard turned out to be true. The following is a brief description of TEC.
TEC is based on the paschal mystery — the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since the paschal mystery is the core message of our Catholic faith, this retreat is a must for anyone wanting to learn more about our faith. Each day is dedicated to a different step of the paschal mystery and to experiencing that step.
When you arrive at TEC, the entire group is divided into small groups that are led by a young person and an adult table leader. This is beneficial for small-group discussions and activities. Attendees are given the opportunity to ask questions about what they’ve learned or to ask faith questions they have never had answered before. We’re blessed this year with two great spiritual directors on TEC, Sister Cheryl Demmer, PBVM, and one of our newly ordained diocesan priests, Father Joseph Sia.
There is plenty of time to meet new people. There’s also time for playing group games and snacking on the abundance of great food. Don’t worry. Nobody has ever gone hungry on a TEC.
TEC is a great way to meet new people. I made my TEC in 2006. Three years later, I still speak with many of the friends I made that weekend. In fact, over the past two years some of these friends have returned with me to help with the retreat. The best way to put it is that this weekend is a lot like a journey, and the people you travel with become a family to you.
The next TEC opportunity is this Presidents’ Day weekend, Feb. 14-16 at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. If you’re interested in making TEC, get an application from your youth minister or go to www.davenportyouth.org.
The cost is $55 per person. Financial assistance is available for anyone needing it. We’re looking forward to another great TEC experience and we’d love to have you there with us.
(Nile Jones is a sophomore at the University of Northern Iowa and a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport.)