Event - Year 5's Alton Castle Retreat

13 to 15 April 2016

In April 2016, as part of preparation to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, Year 5 students visited Alton Castle in Staffordshire.

The focus of our retreat was Discipleship. Throughout our time at Alton Castle, we reflected upon what it means to be a Disciple and how we can be active Disciples. Ever mindful of our focus, we developed our faith, our friendships with one another and experienced fun together.

We felt privileged to be able to stay at Alton Castle, which was built by Pugin, during our retreat. We were presented with a variety of activities which were enjoyed by all and included: biking, adventure course, survival, rock climbing and trekking. During our retreat, we also had the opportunity to learn about the history of the Church of St. John the Baptist, participate in a Night Line, play Bucket Ball and demonstrate our many talents in ‘Alton Castle’s Got Talent’.

Within each activity, we were led in a meditation which explored an element of Discipleship. We reflected on the meaning of the laws given by God to Moses in The Ten Commandments; explored the guidance given by St. Paul ‘to fan into flame the gift of God’ 2 Timothy 1:6. All of the meditations provided the opportunity for discussion alongside quiet reflection.

Prayer formed a central role to the retreat including prayer through song. On our final evening, Fr. Michael Dolman celebrated Mass with us. We certainly felt the presence of God amongst our community. Fr. Dolman reflected on our focus of Discipleship. He reminded us that, although we may look for happiness and fulfilment elsewhere, we would always have a hunger and thirst for God. Also, that it is only in Christ that we would find true happiness and fulfilment.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Fr. Michael Dolman and the Alton Castle Team.