Awakening Retreat VIII

Lucy Bennett, Contributing Writer

This year’s Awakening Retreat, a weekend-long retreat run by Catholic students, will be co-directed by seniors Lauren Bacak and Jason Britsch. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

You may be one of the students signed up for the Awakening Retreat happening Feb. 26 – 28, but what exactly is Awakening?

The first Awakening Retreat, a weekend-long retreat entirely run by Catholic students, was at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La. Now students from universities around the country participate in over 30 Awakening Retreats annually.

Here at the University of Dallas, senior theology major Lauren Bacak and senior politics and history major Jason Britsch will be directing the retreat.

Britsch and Bacak desire to lead others in the faith. Their love for time with community and the Lord prompted them to be Awakening co-directors. In leading Awakening, Britsch hopes to grow in the experience of forming others and teaching. Next year he will begin teaching at his alma mater, Jesuit High School of New Orleans.

“At my high school they take it seriously so the teacher is not just the educator, but there’s a moral formation that goes with it,” Britsch said. “There’s a desire to form other people and educate them in more than just the text book.”

Bacak brings a vibrant personality, a love for community, knowledge from her theology major and experience from the six previous Awakening events she has attended to be an excellent leader.

“It really wouldn’t be possible without the team underneath us who we delegate everything to,” Bacak said. “It’s really a team effort. We just get the fancy name.”

A retreat can revitalize your relationship with Christ through spending transformative time away in prayer and contemplation. The community of friendship that is uniquely blended into the Awakening weekend enhances spiritual growth.

“All of the small group leaders and co-directors helping both before and after are all students, so you get that community, and it’s a fun community to see grow,” Britsch said.

The retreat is three days long and is located at the beautiful Hoblitzelle Camp and Conference Center in Midlothian, Texas.

Awakening involves small group reflections, prayer, Mass and sacraments, talks and activities; however, some activities, which Awakeners cannot discuss, keep the Awakening Retreat veiled in mystery.

“They are well kept secrets mainly because they make for great surprises,” Britsch said. “Generally they are the best parts of Awakening, so it’s a shame we can’t advertise them, but it’s for a good reason. The secrets are super well-guarded.”

The excitement of an Awakening retreat is a bonus, but the opportunity to get away from campus and spend time in prayerful — and fun — dedication to the Lord cannot be surpassed, especially when led by the dynamic Bacak and Britsch duo.

“The real defining characteristic of Awakening is the emphasis it puts on the community, and you praise the Lord while enjoying each other,” Bacak said. “You feel supportive and it’s beautiful.”


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