When the pandemic struck, the 43-year tradition of Kairos retreats had to be put on hold. But Salpointe couldn't wait until the pandemic was over to resume this beloved tradition. We wanted our graduating seniors to experience the life-changing mystery and opportunity of Kairos.
Salpointe’s long-standing home for Kairos retreats, the Triangle Y Camp in Oracle, AZ, was unavailable due to COVID restrictions and Campus Ministry was forced to consider alternative locations. The suggestion to host Kairos on Salpointe’s campus was met with uncertainty. “Would Kairos be the same away from the mountain? Would it feel different on campus? Would Kairos really work here?”
With limited options and only months before graduation, Salpointe reimagined the retreat setting. Campus Ministry created a warm and welcoming talk room in the recently renovated wrestling room. Parents generously donated bean bag chairs for the comfort of the retreatants during small group meetings. Salpointe’s kitchen staff agreed to prepare three delicious meals a day. It took a campus-wide collaboration to make the retreats possible.
In February 2021, the first Kairos in almost a year took place. Stories were told, experiences revealed, friendships formed and hearts softened with compassion. To all those present on the retreat and to anyone who encountered retreatants when they returned from the spiritual “mountain” of Salpointe’s 40-acre campus, it was evident that Kairos was still Kairos. It worked, even if smiles were covered with masks and hugs were exchanged for elbow bumps.
Kairos is not a place. It never has been. The first three decades of Kairos took Lancers to Regina Cleri Seminary. This year it brought them to sacred spaces on their own campus.
Kairos is God’s time. That’s what the retreatants and leaders of Kairos 273, 274, 275, 276 and 277 realized this semester. God was present. He was moving in their hearts and working through the complexities of their young lives.
Even though most students only go on Kairos once, in a way they are forever able to return to Kairos when they allow God to fill in the spaces of their lives. God is always present and Kairos is when we make ourselves present to God.