“I wanted to write to you about the wonderful change I have seen in my son since the retreat. He was just getting into those horrible teenage attitudes and a bit of smart-mouthing. I was wondering what exactly you did on that retreat! He has been taking a private prayer time daily (once even asking me what were the Mysteries for the day). He has been doing his chores without being reminded, Joining his dad and I for the divine office in the morning and asking to go to Holy Hour. (Now if you could just get him to clean his room :)). He really enjoys coming to Life Teen, even gets his homework finished so he can go. I am so happy that he has had the opportunity to grow in his faith and love it for himself. This has changed him and our family. God love you!” ~Prayer in Jesus,  Charlotte


During a moment on the Confirmation retreat, a teen had this to say about the experience:

"It was one of the best moments I've ever had in my life. After the retreat I felt like my relationship with God was stronger than before and I feel closer to Him. It was nice to get together with so many people who believed in the same things I did, and all of that also strengthened my relationship with God. . . . God was there with me the entire time . . . and I felt much closer to Him. It made me realize how important faith is and how much more I can gain by devoting my time, and my life to the Lord.“

 ~Jessica (To be confirmed 2016)

“Thank you for the First Reconciliation Service. I have always wanted to come back to the church and go to confession, but I thought it had been too long. Seeing so many parents go with their children gave me the courage to go. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I am finally going back to mass.” ~A Grateful Dad


In the book, The Seven Practices of Effective Ministry, Andy Stanley points out that “it isn’t enough to evaluate. You also have to celebrate.” (180) He then goes on to explain that there is nothing more rewarding than hearing about “someone’s life-changing story” (181). With this concept in mind, here are just a FEW of the “wins” that we have experienced in Religious Ed. at St. John over the past few months. 



“My son told us he had a profound spiritual experience which brought him to tears. Not easy for a fourteen year old in front of his peers. He said he felt the nearness of Jesus like never before. His eyes sparkled when he came home on Saturday. As a Mom who has witnessed pain in him last year as he transitioned to a new school I can-not express how grateful I am to God. I have witnessed a profound change in him . Praise God! We try to teach them faith but when they experience it first hand it is life changing! He now knows who Jesus is and that He is with him always in good times as well as difficult ones. So grateful!” -Laura

“My husband and I have 4 children (16, 14, 12, 11), and to be completely honest with you, we have re-ally struggled over the past year with getting the kids to be active in the Catholic religion. My son was not looking forward to this weekend at all and had a very poor attitude. This got even worse when we told him that he would need to attend two Life Teen events and that he would not be able to use his phone or electronics on Friday evening, because we would like him to stay within the retreat mindset. Although we were met with much attitude, we explained that it was non-negotiable and assured him that if he went with an open attitude he would have a good time.
When he returned home Saturday evening, I can’t tell you how full my heart was as I listened to him share his day. As he walked in the door, he said…‘That was really cool and like nothing I’ve ever expe-rienced before!’ He shared with us all the new friends he’d made, how much fun he had and how he teared up as he was talking with God. My son, was talking to God, and he was so happy! He then con-tinued to tell us that he had already made plans to attend Life Teen this week and that he was so excit-ed!
I know a lot of prayer, thought and effort went into this retreat to prepare them for confirmation and we are so thankful. I just wanted to share our experience with you and let you know how much our son and his friends enjoyed this past weekend and the impact that it has made on them.” ~ Anonymous Mom