Led by Father Marco, the theme for this year's retreat was "An Unexpected Journey", taken from the title of the first Hobbit film based on the novel of the same name by the Catholic philologist and author J.R.R.Tolkien.
The new St. Francis of Sales Chapel provided the perfect setting for the first retreat to be held on the Guildford Road site for lower school students. After icebreaker games to encourage trust, pupils formed small groups to solve a puzzle based on the retreat theme before being shown a short clip from the DVD "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". By exploring the challenges faced by the hero of the film, pupils were encouraged to explore the qualities and gifts of character needed to succeed in journeys of discovery while making comparisons with the qualities needed for them to flourish in their journey as Christians in Salesian School. Pupils silently reflected upon the unexpected challenges and joys that they have experienced since starting in September and were afforded an opportunity to thank God for such experiences.
Further opportunities for reflection were afforded by groups dramatizing episodes from the Bible in which Abraham, Moses, St. Joseph and the Disciples were challenged by the journey ahead. The retreat concluded with Mass.
Comments from the students afterwards included: "I liked that I was able to get some space to pray", "I enjoyed getting into groups to act out scenes from the Bible” and several who said they wished "we did it more than once a year.”