December 1, 2023 | Local News, Young Adult
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Fr. Gary Clark celebrates Mass for The Journey Young Adult Hike Retreat, which took place Oct. 20-22, 2023. COURTESY OF CHARLIE HARDESTY

Blessings on The Journey

Second young adult hike retreat offers space for prayer, reflection, and relying on community


“We each had different reasons for coming together this weekend and all left with so much more love for God and each other as necessary creations in his image. Our willingness to be open and vulnerable with each other truly brought out the beauty of the Christian life and I am so excited to apply these lessons to my daily life. God used my love of nature and hiking to grow my faith in unexpected ways,” shared Paige McGehee of St. Mary Magdalene Parish after her experience on The Journey Young Adult Hike Retreat.

During the weekend of Oct. 20-22, 2023, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry offered our second young adult hike retreat called “The Journey.” There were 12 participants on the retreat, coming from all around the diocese. Danny May (director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life), Fr. Gary Clark (pastor of St. Francis de Salesin Paducah) and I again facilitated the retreat experience.

Hikers take a break during the Oct. 20-22, 2023 hike retreat for young adults in the Diocese of Owensboro. COURTESY OF CHARLIE HARDESTY

The vision for the retreat is to offer a space for participants to slow down, put down distractions, and create intentional space for God to be present to a particular intention they have brought with them on retreat. The team works to remove the stress of the details so the participants can simply enjoy the hike, God’s gift of creation, and one another.

Clint Roberts of St. Francis de Sales Parish shared: “My intention with this retreat was to avoid all distractions and reconnect with God, nature, and others. I was able to witness a lot of special moments and learn more about the lives of other hikers. I was able to reflect on my own life and faith. I felt like I had permission to leave all my worries behind and simply enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. In the week after the retreat, I had a very productive week at work and felt closer to God than ever. I highly recommend this retreat to any young adult that needs to clear their mind and reconnect with God and the present moment.”

We plan to offer The Journey Young Adult Hike Retreat twice a year and registration for the next retreat, April 12-14, 2024, has already opened. Please check out the website for more details and to register.

The participants of the Oct. 20-22, 2023 hike retreat for young adults in the Diocese of Owensboro. COURTESY OF CHARLIE HARDESTY

Originally printed in the December 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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