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Retreat focuses on faith, experience

Adam Llorens | Sunday, February 5, 2012

Students took a break from the stress of college life Friday and Saturday to reflect on their faith.

Around 60 freshmen attended the third 24-hour Freshman Retreat at the Sacred Heart Parish Center.

Father Pete McCormick, director of the Freshman Retreat Program, said participants had a chance to form support structures with other freshmen and adjust to the college environment.

“Some freshmen think what’s going on with them is unique to themselves, when in fact it’s really a commonality between them,” McCormick said. “Often times, freshmen worry that they are the abnormal ones. This retreat helps them settle into the Notre Dame experience.”

McCormick said his role requires more behind-the-scenes preparation.

“I do a lot of work preparing the sophomore team [leaders] and working with other leadership to organize the retreat,” he said. “During the retreat, I listen to confessions, conduct adoration and celebrate Mass.”

McCormick said the Freshman Retreat is a great outlet for freshman to meet their classmates.

“[It] exposes freshmen to a variety of people they would not otherwise come into contact with on campus,” McCormick said. “It gives freshmen time to expand their horizons.”

Freshman Emily Potucek said meeting people was one of her goals for the retreat.

“I’ve done similar retreats in high school and thought it would be cool to do with my Notre Dame class,” Potucek said. “I wanted to make more friends in my class.”

Potucek said participants mingled while discussing academics, social life and faith.

“We talked about adjustment to college and adjusting to the second semester,” Potucek said. “We also talked about where we are in our faith journey and how we can practice our faith here at Notre Dame.”

Echoing McCormick’s thoughts, Potucek said the retreat gave her the opportunity to converse with other freshmen who share similar interests.

“It was a great chance to see how other freshmen are practicing their faith here,” Potucek said. “It was nice to meet other people who also hold that as a priority.”

Freshman Melanie Mironovich said the retreat was a perfect way to step back from the stress of college life.

“You get really stressed in college, so the retreat was a good way to relax and get away from schoolwork,” she said. “[The retreat is a chance to] slow down and really think about your choices … You’re forced to think about things you wouldn’t normally think about. It makes Notre Dame feel more like a community.”