Article by Ismenia Ginebra ’18:
At Kellenberg, there are many wonderful opportunities for students to draw themselves closer to Jesus. One of these ways is through XLT. XLT is a once a month event occurring on a Wednesday that includes dinner, a talk given by a guest speaker, and adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. During the event, students are lead through prayer and worship by the XLT band. The XLT band consists of over 30 members this year, its largest size ever.
To prepare for the first XLT of the year, the XLT band went on an overnight retreat on September 22 and 23 at Kellenberg. The night kicked off adoration in the chapel. Leading the adoration was Anthony Muhs, a musician who works all across Long Island playing music in various churches and schools. He started off talking to us about what God has shown him in his faith journey. He talked especially about how us teens are being called in a special way, to use the gifts God has given us to lead others in prayer and worship to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are using our talents for God and others, not just for our own satisfaction or pride.
Anthony also spoke about the power of God’s love and the positive effects it has had in his life, marriage, and family. Essentially, we are leading people to experience His love through XLT, which is a humbling opportunity the XLT band gets to have. Once Anthony finished speaking, he invited us to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Between adoration, Father Tom gave a homily. He talked about the difference between “performers” and “prayers.” While performers just play the songs they are to play and are focused on the performance aspect, prayers lead others to Jesus. Prayers are called to aid in the strengthening of their relationship. Father Tom emphasized the special job we have been called by God to do: use our talents and gifts for ministry, not ourselves.
After adoration in the chapel concluded, our next activity took place in the Sun Room, a lounge area in Emmanuel Retreat House. Here, we got to get to know each other a bit more, explaining why they decided to join XLT and answering a faith related question. The rest of the night was spent with our band members as we got to bond with new people and enjoy each other’s company.
The next day, we gathered in the chapel again for morning prayer. After morning prayer, we gathered in the lounge area to watch a video on XLT and the important components that comes with being part of XLT. Many parts were spoken on, from how to choose good songs for adoration to the importance of having a humble attitude and service mindset to the difference between performing and leading others. The video brought about a great reminder to all of us how unique and special XLT can be for someone.
After we watched the video, we split up into three groups for our next activity. The objective of the activity is to write our own lyrics to the tune of a known song about a circumstance. This brought much laughter as we watched each group perform their song, and it was a great way to end our time in the retreat house. We then proceeded to the Millennium room where XLT is held and practiced the songs that we were to sing tonight. When XLT came later at night, all of us prepared to use our voices and talents to lead others in worshipping our Lord and giving Him the praise He deserves.
The XLT retreat was an amazing experience for me, and it really helped me remind myself that we are not here to put on a performance and sound perfect, but we are aiding people in a spiritual experience and to deepen their relationship with Jesus; I also got to know new people and really bond. We are all missionaries, and XLT band is a great platform for mission through music ministry. This is my second year in the band, and I can’t wait to use the renewed knowledge and information I learned from the retreat for XLT for the many XLTs to come throughout these couple of years.