ECHO Retreat


Veronica Medeiros, Staff Writer/Director of Marketing

ECHO, also known as “Encountering Others Through Christ,” is a retreat offered to Bishop Feehan’s Senior Class. It runs twice, once during the fall, and once again in the spring. Students who desire to attend the retreat must fill out a google form expressing and explaining their interest. About fifty students get selected for each retreat. They are broken up into five randomly selected groups in which they spend the majority of their weekend with. During the retreat, students hear from different teachers and alumni about experiences they’ve had throughout their lives. The speakers discuss how these instances have shaped them into who they are today, and how they overcame them. Each speaker also has copies of a pin for each retreat member to put on their stole. The pin, also known as “stole swag,” is meant for students to remember the key takeaways from each discussion. Students wear their stoles throughout both days of the weekend.

The first day consists of lots of self reflection and getting to know each other. The groups come up with team names and are first introduced to the word “palanca.” “Palanca” translates directly to “lever” in Spanish, and it is actually when people write letters to “lift each other up” like a lever. Students are allowed to write to anyone on the retreat, and the letters are placed in envelopes for everyone to read on Sunday. On Saturday, groups have their first “chapel time” together. This is when all five groups go to their designated room in the retreat center and are able to reflect on the different discussions they heard. It is often a very heartwarming experience, as students open up to each other and their group leaders. The groups then meet up again for more talks, and students later have the ability to attend confession before coming back to the school.

On the second day, students submit their final uplifting letters for the teachers to organize. After the organization is complete, everyone sees their big manila envelopes overflowing with palanca. There are letters from students, teachers, fellow retreat members, retreat leaders, and even family members. Everyone gets up to hug each other and say thank you for their letters. Groups then get their second and final chapel time, where they give each other affirmations and get to open up even more. They also get to reflect on the palanca they received, together as a group. Then, students head to the big room which has now been converted into a chapel. They sing “Jesus Jams” during the mass given by our priest, and then head back to school early for their ceremony. During this ceremony, students reveal one thing they learned from this weekend. A saying or a word that really stuck with them. They say it in front of all parents and receive a cross as a way to remember the weekend and all that happened.

On Monday morning, students are encouraged to “live the fourth.” This usually consists of music and hugs which can be found at the entrance of the cafeteria lot. Throughout the day on Monday, students continue to hug all their teachers and other students who did not attend the retreat. After all, we do need four hugs a day to survive.