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Kairos Retreat a formative time for students
by Jonathan Salamanca
Kairos retreat participants

The promise to experience time—or kairos—at its fullest in an inspirational event attracted students to participate in the highly anticipated Kairos retreat in early February.

Twenty-six students signed up for the retreat with University Ministry. Participants were told the weekend was a confidential student-led experience offering the opportunity to open doors to new relationships with God, friends, family, and themselves—nothing else about the weekend was revealed.

“It’s a great experience, if you’re willing to be open and let loose,” said Cody Koepke, senior Kairos leader.

The sense of mystery and curiosity created excitement and drove students to register at full capacity for the retreat. As the participants exited Lewis Hall to embark on a new venture for two nights and three days, a large crowd lined sidewalks near the front door cheering this year’s participators like crowds encouraging runners in a marathon.

Kairos is a religious retreat held, this year, at the Portiuncula Center for Prayer, a retreat center in Frankfort, IL. It is structured specifically for young adults balancing prayer with integrated communication from family and friends.

bus ride   bus ride
Students leaving for the retreat were seen off by an adoring crowd.
According to Ann Hillman, University Ministry coordinator of community outreach and retreats, it builds on the relationship with the self, faith, and God to focus on life occurrences that truly matter.

“Before I came on the Kairos retreat, I was extremely skeptical about what was going to happen. I honestly thought a priest was going to put us in a room with a Bible the entire weekend. However, I trusted my friend Jason, who recommended I go on this retreat, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Dominican University,” said Anthony Pisano, sophomore Kairos leader.

Before boarding the bus, students were told to leave behind phones, laptops, and the concept of time—or “chromos.” The Greeks have two words for time: chronos referring to the tracking and sequence of time, and kairos referring to the right moment in time.

Participants were asked to welcome a change of pace, a time where the world stopped and life was grasped.

Whenever anyone asked a Kairos leader, “What are we doing next?,” the leader would simply respond: “P.D.A.! —Participate and Don’t Anticipate!”

The entire retreat was full of pleasant surprises, some of which were emotionally staggering, but the Kairos retreat builds a sense of community and support for each and every individual.

“Once you go to Kairos, you'll look for any opportunity to go back,” said Cassandra Williams, senior participant.

Kairos is a place where people are shown incredible love and acceptance from complete strangers. These complete strangers turn into more than friends. They become family and accompany one another through difficult times.

“Whether you've been on retreats before or not, you should definitely look into the Kairos retreat. The Kairos family welcomes you with open arms,” said Cynthia Velasquez, Kairos home team member.

When the students returned on Sunday night they were greeted by one last surprise.

The Kairos event concluded with a prayer service and, as the participants left behind the concept of kairos, they were told to continue living in the moment and relieve themselves and others of all the pressure time brings.

The Kairos retreat, in its third year at Dominican, welcomed this year’s participators, known as the K3 team, to the larger Kairos family of past Kairos participants.
Contact: Ann Hillman - 708-524-6684 - ahillman@dom.edu
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