Primary school students at St. Augustine Catholic School received a spiritual education during a religious retreat last week.
Held Wednesday, Oct. 1, a group called FacetoFace Ministries brought the teachings of Jesus Christ and worked to develop a strong connection with His spirit. The group is based out of Saskatchewan, but has seen strong demand in school retreats that saw members spend all of last week in central Alberta.
Led by Jon Courchene, with help from Ryan Mitchell, the group used music and humour to inspire youths. The school retreats are a fairly new program for FacetoFace Ministries and have proved popular, explained Courchene.
“God just kept up opening more doors,” said Courchene.
They brought teachings to different grades through a variety of methods because Courchene says each group learns in a different way. In an effort to bring their message full circle, the group made a presentation to the entire primary school in the morning and then concluded with an assembly at the end of the day.
Between assemblies, the group presented upbeat live music, singing and key messages to the different classes. Mitchell and Courchene joined FacetoFace for similar reasons; both had been taught about Jesus Christ at a young age.
“When I was 14, I was brought to Christ by this kind of ministry,” explained Mitchell.
He says being able to teach through this program has been a rewarding experience. When kids get excited with their theme, Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, Courchene and Mitchell get excited. Youths at St. Augustine appeared to get into the spirit of the event and responded well to what the two were teaching.
“I’m really proud of them for that,” said Courchene.
They have found strong responsiveness to the program and enjoy spreading the ministry’s message to as many schools as possible.
St. Augustine principal Curt Baron said he was able to take advantage of a grant from the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools division to have the group visit Ponoka. He wanted to give the primary school students an event they could remember.
“I don’t think they’ve had an elementary (school) treat for a long time,” said Baron.
While the retreat created some change in the school’s daily routine, response from teachers was positive. “There was not one negative thing said,” said Baron.
“I think the teachers saw the value in it,” he added.