Children's Recollection and Retreat Activities

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Recollections and retreats are regular activities in Catholic schools for children.  They are part of the character and spiritual formation of students.  At least once every school year, every student will have gone through one starting at about the 3rd or 4th grade in elementary.

What is a Recollection/Retreat?

The holistic development of a child is not deemed complete without spiritual growth and development.  A recollection or retreat is intended to be a personal encounter with God often characterized by meditation, silence, reflection, and prayer.  It primarily seeks to renew faith that may have long been practiced but not fully internalized so as to bring about the desired positive transformation of every human being.

The idea is to bring about a spiritual experience which can be understood by children in the hope that such an experience will encourage positive values and behavior.  Recollections and retreats  have the same purpose.  The only difference is that the former is usually a day activity while the latter is an overnight up to a 3-day activity.  For younger students however, an overnight retreat arrangement will suffice.

The Expected Benefits

Since the religion of children are chosen for them by their parents, it is an accepted fact that they acquire their faith without full understanding of the teachings and responsibilities of Catholics, in the case of students of Catholic schools.  Schools participate in a child's spiritual formation primarily through the teaching of Religion or Christian Living Education subject.  This is supported by active participation in mass and other sacraments plus faith renewal activities such as recollections and retreats.

The "break" provided by recollections and retreats from regular schoolwork is for the purpose of detaching the participants from the every day concerns that even young children are not exempted from.  The activity seeks to refocus children in connection with their personal relationship with God., their family, and their friends.  Relationships beyond these are usually tackled in recollections and retreats for older students.  Refocusing is expected to provide clarity on issues affecting the child emotionally and psychologically.

Recollection/Retreat Venues

Recollections conducted by schools for younger children are usually held in the school chapel or other areas in school with a peaceful atmosphere.   Students in higher levels usually have their activity in Retreat Centers which are usually located in quiet locations such as Tagaytay or Antipolo.  There are however many retreat centers located in busy areas such as Manila and Quezon City that manage to maintain their peaceful atmosphere inside amidst the hustle and bustle outside.

A spiritual guide who is not necessarily a priest conducts the recollection or retreat.  Children and adults alike need guidance in this kind of activity to maximize the time and the opportunity for quiet and reflection.  A schedule of sequenced activities are typically prepared beforehand for the purpose of attaining the set objective.

My Say

I distinctly remember crying every recollection and retreat I attended in my younger days.  I cannot remember though, why I cried.  There must be some reason because every time my own son comes home from one, it is very obvious that he did some crying of his own.

And so I asked and he said : " I cried because I knew some of the things I have done may have hurt you and Papa and I realized that when we were given the chance to reflect in our recollection.   Sometimes, I get confused but I never meant to do anything hurtful."  

And I said, "I know" because I remembered.

Given the time to pause and stop even for a while allows us rest of mind and body.  Recollections and retreats allow even our soul a rest from the worries that engulf us.  It is a time to listen in silence for a change.

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14 comments

  1. I used to attend Recollections and Retreats when I was in highschool. It's something I find being lucky to have been enrolled in a Catholic school or I wouldn't have experienced it.

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  2. I remember my HS days, yearly we had recollections and retreats. I can't wait for my kids to experience the same thing.

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  3. I would like to commend your site first, I like the header and the title. This is really what life is all about.. just passing thru..

    I think that a recollection helps our spiritual life a lot. Just like my older daughter, she showed a whole lot of difference after recollection.

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  4. I studied in a Catholic school and my first retreat was in 6th grade. It's fun and memorable bonding moment with friends.

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  5. My son just had his recollection too. Their theme this year is "person's are gifts". I'm sure he was able to understand it well because I always tell him that he's a very precious gift from God.

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  6. I am a product of a catholic highschool and college and i did remember all the recollection and retreat experiences. When my kids grow up too i will enrol them in a catholic school too becsuse i want them to be a good person and experience everything too

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  7. It has been a while since I attended a retreat. Perhaps, I really need one soon.

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  8. I never experience going to a retreat. hahaha.. although I go to catholic school and I myself is a christian, haven't tried on yet. but according to them, it's really nice feeling being part of it. I hope soon I can experience this. :)

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  9. It's really nice for kids to join retreats and recollections because they can learn lot of things that are not taught in school. :)

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  10. I would have to wait for 8 more years before one of my daughters will have their first retreat and recollection but mine left emotional moments I can still remember.

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  11. I studied in a catholic school elementary and college. Yearly, we have recollections. It's a good outlet to reflect in your life, your wrong-doings and others. It gives you time to think and re-think.

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  12. Recollection have good benefits and it will help a person to be better. One thing that I observe from it is the realization of the current and past doings which will be a great way of how to correct what is done badly in the history.

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  13. the last time i've been to a retreat was before I graduated from College. i was not doing good in meditation at the time as i was falling asleep while the facilitator was enumerating things we have to ponder on while we meditate....

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  14. Oh yes, high school days, retreat every year in Tagaytay. How could I forget? Iiyak ka ng balon-balon tapos pagbalik ganun pa din, walang pinagbago...hahaha! But seriously, it was such a blessing to be a part of these retreats. Looking forward to the time when my children would be the one to experience this.

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