By Fr. John Langan, SDB
(Marrero, LA – August 30) – This past July marked the reboot of Gospel Roads here in New Orleans (NOLA). The retreat was directed by Salesian Cooperator Dylan Mitchell. Dylan assembled the core team from all over the U.S.
Although a dozen students signed up originally, a few had to drop out in the days before the retreat. So, the reboot was a lot smaller than it had been in the past, with three Archbishop Shaw (Shaw) students and three Academy of Our Lady students participating. However, it ended up being a very successful retreat for everyone who participated.
After an early morning wakeup call by the core team, each day started with the celebration of the Eucharist. Next, we went out to service sites all over New Orleans and helped the young people to recognize many different ways to serve in their own community.
After returning from service, there were opportunities for recreation and reflection on the day. Rick Valladares, the coordinator of the Salesian Cooperators on the Westbank, organized various groups, including the Cooperators, Knights of Columbus, and Shaw alumni, to provide meals for the retreat. In the evening, the core team led the group in connecting their service experience with their faith through leading them in various types of prayer.
By the end of the week, we had become a tight knit community. While it was hard for everyone to go their separate ways, we look forward to opportunities to reconnect throughout the year. Next year, we will build on this success and hope to return to the pre-Covid sizes of Gospel Roads.