The Catholic University of America

Sept. 20, 2010

CUA Freshmen Go on Spiritual Retreat

President Garvey and His Wife Discuss Their Spiritual Life


CUA students fill a tent at the 2010 Freshman Retreat.

More than 240 CUA freshmen — the largest group in four years — went on a spiritually challenging and revealing retreat earlier this month to the shores of southern Maryland, where they talked to President John Garvey and his wife about their spiritual life as a couple.

The freshmen heard talks about the importance of chastity and confession, were given opportunities to go to confession, and participated in a Mass at sunrise the weekend of Sept. 10 through 12. On Sept. 11, they heard from Garvey and his wife Jeanne about their “spiritual insights and prayer life as a couple,” said Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.

“Tons of people spoke about how good the retreat was,” DeAngelo said, a sentiment echoed by one member of the class of 2014. “I was able to bring myself to confession, which I had not gotten myself to do in over three years. It got a lot off my chest,” Patrick Fricchione, an 18-year-old history major from Scranton, Pa. “It was also great that everyone was there because they wanted to be there.”

Organizing the retreat was a feat unto itself.

Last Friday afternoon, 241freshmen left campus and drove 90 miles to Camp St. Charles in Issue, Md. Young men slept that night and Saturday night on the 150 cots available, while the women slept in bunk beds. Most of the freshmen saw one of the 20 priests available for confession. The priests had been recruited from seminaries and parishes close to the CUA campus.

Seven members of the campus ministry pastoral staff as well as 50 student leaders were also present.

By all accounts, Saturday was the highlight of the retreat. The young men were roused out of their cots at 6 a.m. to the sounds of pots and pans banging and clattering by the staff, while the women were awakened gently. Then the freshmen attended Mass on the banks overlooking the Wicomico River at 6:20 a.m. That night, they ate lasagna for dinner and participated in an alcohol-free dance.

“The energy at camp was very different than some of the retreats that I have been on [in high school],” Fricchione said. “It was all so positive.”


More news from CUA