By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
More than two dozen young people recently took part in a Teens and Twenties Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat at the Flaget Center, an event that marked the fifth TEC weekend hosted by the Archdiocese of Louisville.
In the two years since the first TEC was offered by the archdiocese, more than 350 people — including young adults and adult team members — have participated in the retreat experience, said Carole Goodwin, the TEC coordinator for the archdiocese and the archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry.
TEC, originally an offshoot of the Cursillo movement, is a three-day retreat based on the Paschal mystery. The weekend is led by other young people and adults, including women religious, deacons and priests.
In a telephone interview last week, Goodwin noted that she is consistently amazed by the willingness of young people involved in planning and leading the retreat to give up so much of their time to make the event a meaningful experience for those attending.
Brittany Ballard, a member of the leadership team on the most recent TEC retreat, said she wanted to give back to TEC because of the impact it has made on her life.
“I come back for every retreat to help in any way I can just because of the immense amount of love I have for both the TEC retreat and the TEC community,” the Bellarmine University sophomore said.
Maria Vivona, also a member of the leadership team for the fifth TEC weekend, said TEC gave her a new way to look at her faith.
Vivona, who will enter the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco in New Jersey later this month, said the TEC experience has provided her with a “wonderful spiritual support group.”
“We die with Christ, we rise with him and we go out to the world to preach the Gospel, which is what I hope to do in a special way when I become a Salesian sister,” she said.
Joe Recktenwald, who served as the lay director for TEC number 5, said those who participate in the retreat leave with a sense of “who they are at that moment in their lives and what it will take for them to live a Christian life.”
“I think they leave feeling they are part of a community, the community of TEC as well as the community of the Catholic Church. Most of all I think they feel the ‘agape’ love of Jesus, present in their lives,” Recktenwald, a parishioner of St. Francis Xavier Church in Mt. Washington, Ky., said.
That community is what Goodwin calls a unique feature of the retreat structure.
“It’s a retreat where 17- to 70-year-olds get together; where an intergenerational community is built,” she said.
It includes interaction between teenagers, college-aged young adults and adults, Goodwin noted.
The next TEC retreat will be Feb. 14, 15 and 16, 2015.
Teens, who are 17 or have completed their first semester of junior year in high school, and college-aged young adults are invited to participate in the weekend retreats. For more information or to add your name to the TEC database in Louisville, contact Carole Goodwin by phone at 448-8581 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.