The spring Salesian Leadership Retreat is a tradition for Cristo Rey Tampa Salesian High School (CRTSHS) student leaders. This year, eight students spent their Spring Break traveling to Stony Point, New York, with Fr. Eddie Chincha, SDB, and Miss Amanda Lafoe, Alumni Coordinator, to experience a week of Salesian faith and fun and leadership development.

In addition to the student participants, CRTSHS was also represented on the retreat core team by Madeline B., ’22, who served as a young team member. Francis Chazhikattu, CRTSHS alumnae attending Saint Leo University, joined as a member of the core team as well. The two traveled ahead of the others to prepare and plan for the Retreat with the Salesian Office of Youth Ministry members.

The Salesian Leadership Retreat aims to help students broaden their leadership views, inspire them to discover their unique gifts and leadership potential, and encourage them to reflect on their progress and room for growth. “The Retreat recreates the Don Bosco oratory environment, which is a powerful experience,” shared Fr. Eddie Chincha, SDB, Director of Campus Ministry.

CRTSHS students were joined by student leaders from Salesian high schools in New Orleans, Miami, Naples, Washington DC, New Jersey, and New York. Together, these students brought the retreat theme of  Salesian Oratory: home, school, church, and playground to life. Students enjoyed teambuilding activities, shared reflections, and moments of prayer throughout the week while encountering God in a Salesian environment. Students also grew closer together and became friends.

CRTSHS students and adults returned to campus with a new sense of belonging to a broader Salesian family and a deeper appreciation for their Faith. They also brought their newfound joy in youthful holiness and a commitment to serve the rest of their school family. This mighty group of eight students has big plans that they hope will catch on campus. Foster more unity between grades, improve the student/staff collaboration, and realizing that Faith can be fun are a few items on their list.

The group stayed in St John Bosco Parish and were welcomed by the Salesian communities of Port Chester and New Rochelle, who assisted with lodging and transportation. They even got to celebrate Mass at Fr. Eddie’s home parish. Of course, before concluding a trip to New York, the group visited a few hot spots in the City. So the CRTSHS team traveled from downtown to uptown visiting Battery Park, China Town, the World Trade Center, Times Square, and Central Park. In addition, they made a special stop at St. Ignatius Loyola Church.

Congratulations to Madeline B. ’22 for serving as a member of the Retreat Core Team and the Class of 2023 student leaders who attended this Salesian Leadership Retreat: Kelly A., Emanuel A., Ana C., Joseph C., Enelson J., Daleisa G., Jocelyn M.,  and Jose M.

A special thank you to our Salesian hosts for a wonderful experience!