Our Junior and Senior GOYA retreat was an awesome weekend. Our theme was “Walking with the Saints” and we talked about the saints, who they are, how they are recognized, and the fact that we are not only called to be saints, but we are created as saints.

Two things were emphasized at this retreat. First, the saints are there for us to engage with, to build relationships with, and to rely on. Staff and GOYAn’s shared personal stories of relationships with saints and the fruits that have come from them. Andrew Pappas shared beautiful stories from his trip to Ionian Village, Megan Ladner shared a story of a saint that we have built a relationship with as we have grown in our relationship. Chris Chakonas shared a miraculous healing of his mother by St. Nectarios. And Anna shared a story about a crazy obscure lost-wallet that was found through her prayers to St. Phanourios. This was one of the most impactful parts of the entire retreat and really made the saints real and tangible.

Secondly, we emphasized that sainthood is not something outside of ourselves that we have to reach for, but rather its an embracing of who we truly are. And at our core, who we are is Christ. We are born in the image and likeness of God, so becoming a saint is no more than being authentic to who we were created to be, children of God. Chris Chakonas said it best when he said “You are a saint, you may just not be you right now.” The saints are awesome because God is awesome and they allow God to operate through them, just as we all can.

Beyond that, our epic competition of the Boznos Bowl was just as epic as the expectation. Team Red Flamingos had a come-from-behind win with skill and finesse on the dodgeball court. All teams participated and fought a good fight. But after Trivia, the relay, and dodgeball, only one team could walk away victorious, and the Red Flamingos displayed their dominance. Led by team captains Tommy Mantice, Demetri Aralis and Jack Danby there was no stopping this assortment of competitors.

Thank you to all who made the retreat possible, special thanks to Fr. Panagiotis Boznos for coming up and officiating the bowl while also helping to lead our youth.

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