Calm and (Re)collected: Evenings of Recollection Help Students Refocus

Ben Szemerenyi ’19 decorates the tower upon which the Eucharist will be placed at Get Colorized.

Sby Chris Carillo ’19  


Speaking during Eucharistic Adoration for the junior class earlier this year, varsity football coach Mr. Kevin Dolan ’85 said, “As Chaminade men, we all know what it’s like when things happen that don’t go our way…”

At each event faculty members like Coach Kevin Dolan ’85, pictured here, share a personal spiritual reflection to guide the students in their meditations.

Chaminade students face many physical, mental, and spiritual obstacles each and every day. Focusing on the spiritual aspect of these daily obstacles, it is of the utmost importance for us to stop and reflect on our relationships with God. For this reason, Chaminade holds Evenings of Recollection for all grade levels: “Restless” for freshmen, “Encounter” for sophomores, “Get Colorized” for juniors, and “Hunger” for seniors.

Generally, these evenings of recollections are rather similar.  Each event contains an allotted portion of time in which students socialize and eat, followed by prayer and adoration.  Despite this, each evening has its own unique focal point to separates it from its counterparts.


A Fresh Start with Restless

Last Thursday (January18), the freshmen joined together as a class for their first official evening of prayer, Restless.

“Restless” features a Bible verse scavenger hunt for the freshmen.

Restless includes many athletic activities, ranging from dodgeball, European handball, and even an obstacle course.  Additionally, there is a Bible verse scavenger hunt and a Chaminade-based trivia competition.  These fun activities allow students to work together to complete a goal, solidifying the new bonds that were made among the freshmen during 3-C Week.  With all of Chaminade’s rigorous classes, sports programs, and clubs, student life can become a bit overwhelming—especially for our newcomers.  This event allows the young Flyers to reflect on their current relationships with God and to grow closer to Him through the Eucharistic Adoration portion of the night.  Restless provides a unique spiritual experience—one that most students have probably never had before—which sets the tone for the next three years of Chaminade.


Christ: Up Close and in Person

Sophomore year offers Encounter, a night during which students can experience Jesus Christ through activities, their peers, and the meditation period at the end of the evening.  The activity that energized over 200 sophomores this year, however, was European handball—a game which students can’t seem to get enough of!  Mr. Robert Pomponio organized this competition as homerooms battled against each other to achieve ultimate bragging rights.  Following this exhausting activity, the students feasted on spicy chicken hero sandwiches, and there was a faith-based talk given by a member of the Chaminade faculty, Mr. Sal Garofalo ’08.  Finally, Fr. Ernest Lorfanfant, S.M. ’55 led a Eucharistic Adoration ceremony to close the night.


Seeing the World in a New Color

The Get Colorized event during junior year serves as a time of reflection before the stress of trimesters, standardized exams, and college applications.  Get Colorized features a BYOB (“build your own burger”) dinner, prepared with the help of the culinary club.  The “colorization” aspect of this night is represented by three different colored candles.  These candles are distributed to every student before they gather in the auditorium.

Director of Campus Ministry Mr. Michael Foley ’99 opens each evening of recollection with a prayer to bring those assembled into a reflective state of mind.

As Director of Campus Ministry Mr. Michael Foley ’99 described it, the candles “represent the parts of people’s lives where they feel a certain emptiness that can only be filled by God’s grace.”  Mr. Foley also remarked that “it’s important for the young men to see models of faith in their faculty through their talks and presence.”

This past November, the reflections of Mr. Peter Dubon ’99, Mr. Michael Dolce ’99, and Coach Dolan enabled Chaminade students to relate to these fine men and incorporate their various stories into their own lives.  

Some students came into the event last Fall with a closed heart towards God, but, by the event’s conclusion, it seems that many had let His eternal love and grace rain down upon them.


Feeding the Hungry with Steak…and with Prayer

Finally, the legendary Hunger event takes place during senior year.  This Evening of Recollection explores how every student has a spiritual “hunger” that cannot be fulfilled by anything but God’s love—not even by the night’s 100-plus pounds of steak, curly fries, and salad!

After this bountiful meal, the students advance into Hearst Auditorium to become spiritually satisfied.  Here, talks are given by faculty members; last time, Bro. Patrick Cahill, n.S.M. ’11, and Mr. Matthew Chicavich ’98 discussed how God showed them their religious vocations.

Throughout the busy year for seniors, life can become overwhelming. They have term papers to write and plenty of college applications to finish.  This event allows God to enter into their lives to provide His grace and love to them for the remainder of the year.

“It’s important to stop, come together as a class, and do something that is communal and spiritual,” explained Mr. Foley.

These Evenings of Recollection certainly provide Chaminade men with the opportunity for great camaraderie, but they also help guide students as they progress on their spiritual journeys throughout their high-school careers.