For four days this week, more than 100 teenagers immersed themselves in faith during Discipleship Week at the College of St. Scholastica sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Duluth and National Evangelization Team Ministries of St. Paul.
Dominique Caya, 15, of Duluth called the retreat “all-around awesome.” She said she learned that faith isn’t something that’s abstract — it’s real. “You realize you’re not by yourself,” she said. “You realize you have friends and beyond that, you have God.”
Most of the students at D-Week, as it’s known, came from the Catholic Diocese of Duluth. The retreat ended Thursday afternoon.The goal of D-Week is to teach high school students to be disciples and to share their faith, said Ben Frost, director of youth ministry at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth.
“I hope they get the courage to live out their faith boldly in the world today,” he said. Frost coordinated the event along with Heather Serena, who works in youth and young adult ministry for the Duluth Diocese.
During the retreat the students prayed, sang, celebrated Mass, went to confession, watched skits, listened to faith testimonies and gathered in groups to discuss their experiences. They also had separate sessions for girls and boys to discuss such things as what it means to be a woman or man of God and what holiness means.
Serena said some people might tell high school students they are too young to make a difference, but she tells them that isn’t true.
“I really challenge the students to not let their age be a hindrance, but to live their faith now and be the change the world needs,” she said.
Thomas Gallegos, 15, of Duluth same he came to D-Week to learn more about God. “I wanted to get in touch with God and make a better bond with him,” he said.
Clare Carr, 14, of Esko said she has grown a lot this week because of the retreat. Before, she said, it was easy to go through the motions of faith. “Now, it’s more personal,” she said.
Sarah Messerich, 17, of St. Paul said the retreat was an amazing, healing experience.
“It helps you get in touch with God in your soul,” she said. “When you go back in the world, you are refreshed.”