OR

Faith Reborn at Graymoor

By Keira Ferretti and Charley Martabano, Class of 2022

After four years of Theology at Kennedy Catholic, the seniors were faced with their final retreat. For fourteen years, the senior class of Kennedy has visited the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, New York in the fall. At 8:30 in the morning, the class of 2022 set out on their journey to Graymoor. They were greeted with the beauty and elegance of the society founded by Father Paul Wattson. Upon entrance to the building, Father Breslin took the opportunity to discuss his moving past and journey to becoming a priest. He kept the seniors engaged with his charismatic personality, yet shocked them all when he said that the voice of God was “calling to him” to become a priest.  Upon Father Breslin finishing this story, Mr. Junjulas related Father Breslin’s vocation to that of Elijah who heard the voice of God whilst he waited inside the cave. Sister Mary McCaffrey, who has recently celebrated her 74th year in the sisterhood, also spoke about her story, inspiring the seniors with her commitment to her faith. 

After each speech, the seniors had a break before going to confession.  Snacks and drinks were provided as the students took in the beautiful sights of Graymoor.  As the seniors discussed the speeches amongst themselves, Mr. Junjulas interjected “You have to discover during this retreat that still, small, voice of God in you,” which he hoped that the seniors would discover after such a memorable experience.

After the break, the seniors confessed their sins outdoors.  After everyone was absolved, the seniors went to the tomb of Father Paul, where they were blessed with the beautiful view, in which Mr. Junjulas pointed out the Empire State Building from afar. Father Vaillancourt then gifted them each a beautiful set of rosary beads, made by Ms. Perugini, adorned with the school colors of red, white and blue.  All together the seniors and teachers prayed the rosary in moving unison.

Once the rosary was said, the seniors ate a lunch of tacos, chips and water provided by the staff at Graymoor.  The students enjoyed lunch for about 45 minutes, with the buzz of excitement regarding the size of the building and their new knowledge of faith in the air.  After lunch, the seniors participated in a beautiful mass in the chapel of Saint Francis, performed by Father Breslin with readers Daniella Grono and Peter Desimini.  The chapel was adorned with beautiful stained glass and statues of many saints, providing the perfect backdrop for such an important mass.

At the end of the day, the students clambered back into the bus, happily chattering all the way home regarding their experience at Graymoor. In addition, Sister Mary provided her own insight on the experience, stating, “What a tremendous opportunity we have at Kennedy! Every year each one of us ‘goes apart and rests awhile’ with our Lord. The seniors go to Graymoor for the day to strengthen our faith in our gracious God and look into ourselves to be the best person we can be. Knowledge is wisdom, wisdom is holiness, holiness is happiness and grace. How good God is to us.” 

The Seniors would like to thank the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, their staff, Father Breslin, Mr. Junjulas, Sister Mary, Father Vaillancourt, and Ms. Perugini for such a wonderful and memorable senior retreat.  This retreat was essential to understanding the faith, and without these contributors, the seniors wouldn’t have had such a wonderful experience.

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