September 27, 2019
By Nicole Bevilacqua
The annual AGAPE Retreat has become an endearing tradition for freshman students for the past 15 years, and has grown to become Campus Ministry’s largest annual event.
This year’s AGAPE Retreat took place over the weekend of September 6-8, at Pleasant Hill Outdoor Camp in Perrysville, Ohio, situated in the heart of Mohican State Park overlooking a beautiful lake. Students were able to engage in a weekend away from campus, planned and hosted by a team of upperclass students in collaboration with Campus Ministry staff. Many opportunities were provided over the weekend for students to bond and grow in their faith.
Alex Branham and Jackie Noelker, seniors at Walsh University, planned this year's retreat with the help of Ben Walther, Director of Campus Ministry.
“Jackie and I started planning for the retreat back in April with the help of our Admin team and other fellow students,” said Branham. “We worked over the summer, while we were both in Rome, and pulled everything together in the end over the first few weeks on campus this semester.”
In total, 111 students attended the retreat. The theme of the AGAPE retreat this year was “Gracefully Broken” and featured several student witness talks, small group discussions along with praise and worship, Holy Mass, and Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A Bible verse used for the theme was 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you for my peace is made perfect in weakness". Each witness that attended the event focused on how God’s love transformed an area of brokenness in the students’ lives. The new additions to the retreat this year was the celebration of an outdoor Holy Mass and free time for the students at the lake.
“Getting to lead this incredible retreat with such a wonderful co-director, leadership team, and campus ministry staff/faculty was such a blessing. This will go down as one of my favorite memories from Walsh University,” said Noelker.
The AGAPE retreat is a tradition for Walsh University and is so important to the Walsh community because it provides students with a chance to forge new connections with others, and ground those new relationships in the Christian faith.
“We all need community around us to support us in our journey with Christ,” said Walther. “Agape retreat is a weekend-long meditation on the life-changing love of God, a love that gives itself away for the good of the other.”