By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor
A retreat program that started in Michigan 50 years ago has been life-changing for a couple dozen young adults in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Last weekend, they traveled to Illinois to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Teens and Twenties Encounter Christ, known as TEC, and meet its creator, Father Matthew Fedewa.
Father Fedewa wrote the retreat in Michigan in 1965. The Archdiocese of Louisville started offering TEC retreats about three years ago.
Among the retreatants here in Louisville is 19-year-old Fermin Luna, a member of St. Rita Church. He said TEC helped him take the first steps in discerning his vocation.
“Unless a grain of wheat. … You have to die to yourself to let other people live,” said Luna, referring to a passage from the Gospel of John which is a theme of TEC. “That kind of stuck with me. I thought about it in a different way after TEC.
“After TEC I also started really considering what God was calling me to. I was in the second semester of senior year and I was trying to figure out college,” Luna explained during an interview about TEC June 12.
Now, a year-and-a-half later, Luna is applying to become a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Luna was one of 27 young adults from the archdiocese who attended the 50th anniversary TEC Congress last weekend at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Ill. About 240 people from around the United States gathered at the celebration.
“Our 27 young adults shone,” said Carole Goodwin, TEC coordinator for the archdiocese and
the archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry. “It was a wonderful experience for them.
“All of them, almost individually, got to connect with Father Matt Fedewa. He’s in his 90s now,” Goodwin said. “He told them he had no idea that when he wrote a retreat it would still be used 50 years later. It was a really good experience for our fledgling group to realize there are strong roots to this program.”
Anna Metzger, a junior at Eastern Kentucky University and a member of St. Albert the Great Church, was selected to be an emcee during the TEC congress.
She first attended TEC as a junior at Mercy Academy and it changed the way she understands the meaning of church, she said.
“I was really excited to try a retreat outside of school and get a new community of Catholics. It absolutely blew me away,” Metzger said. “I gained a new community that pushed me in my walk with Christ each day.
“Before TEC, I used to say, ‘I’m going to church.’ Now, going to church means I’m going to the community (of faith) that surrounds me,” Metzger explained. “I can’t quite pinpoint it, but every time we have a TEC retreat, the light of Christ is so vibrant you just can’t miss it.”
Metzger added that she and the TEC community want more people to join them.