Louisiana Tech’s ACTS Spring Retreat Builds Community

by Courtney Smith

The Association of Catholic Tech Students (ACTS) of Louisiana Tech in Ruston recently retreated to Gospel, Inc., for their annual Spring Retreat. The entirely student-planned weekend focused on the theme “the JOY of the Lord is our strength,” from Nehemiah.

The retreatants explored this theme through building, which resonated with the students who were mostly engineering majors. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after the Exile, and on the retreat, the students built wells and in the process, their community.

The retreatants were gathered into small discussion groups who met throughout the retreat for reflection. Each time they met, they lit sanctuary candles (the candles next to the tabernacle, reminding us of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist). During their first meeting, each group got to build. The groups each built a panel of Styrofoam “bricks,” which were assembled to make a larger well that served the whole community for the weekend.

Retreatants took blue paper, symbolizing water, from the well to write affirmations of one another throughout the retreat.
In addition to small groups, the students met to reflect with prayer partners, and they too got to build. They built small “wells” that doubled as votive candle holders, which they lit each time they met for reflection.

The retreat ended at the 7:00 p.m. student Mass at St. Thomas Parish, where the retreatants brought their JOY and the strength they had gained from all their building, both physical and spiritual, back to the larger church community.

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