Article by Megan Rowen, Class of 2016
This year, as a junior at Kellenberg, I was asked to be a member of PREP (Parish Religious Education Program). This activity brings and prepares Kellenberg students to be religious education instructors at nine local parishes. Before the start of teaching religious education at our designated schools, the new members were asked to go upstate to Founder’s Hollow, the Marianist’s retreat residence, for a weekend retreat. Having never been there before, I had no idea how much this experience would increase my faith.
We were all excited as we arrived at Kellenberg that beautiful Sunday morning and were invited to Mass with the Marianist community. Fr. Philip presided over a beautiful liturgy in which he urged us, “to go make disciples of the young people of Long Island.” It wasn’t until then that those words struck me, and it was my new role to evangelize the new generation of believers. From the start of our three-hour journey to Founder’s Hollow, I had a sense of God’s presence as I listened to Christian music, singing with my friends, and looked forward to our time at Founder’s. While there, whether we were going over teaching exercises, playing football, praying in Eucharistic Adoration, walking the serene grounds in quiet meditation and prayer, or hanging out by the fire pit outside, I felt Jesus all around me, even though not everything we did was a direct lesson about faith. This retreat made a lasting impression on me, and what I learned from this will help me teach religious education classes this year, that although it is important to teach the doctrines of our faith, not everything has to be exactly “by the book” to experience God. I learned that we can teach God’s presence through beauty in nature, quiet reflection, prayer, and seeing God through the goodness and talents in others. Having experienced this first-hand, I believe that I will be better able to teach others how to be able to understand and feel God’s presence in their lives in ordinary ways, in addition to what we learn from the curriculum.
I have a particular attachment to St. Agnes where I will be teaching religious education this year, because I went there for school for nine years. I remember some mornings when we would go into school the teachers would tell us the desks had been rearranged by the teachers of CCD. Little did I know that in a few years I would be one of those teachers! How our faith comes full circle — I am now confident enough to share my own faith with others as I am still learning more about my faith each day at Kellenberg. God has entrusted me with quite a role — to bring His “Good News” to others. I hope to use what I experienced in Founder’s as well as what Kellenberg and my years at St. Agnes taught me to teach my students a complete understanding of their faith.