Confirmation Retreats


Why do we have an overnight retreat?

The overnight retreat allows the youth to have dedicated time alone with God. The retreat gives the CONFIRMATION candidates a chance to detach from electronics, and other day to day activities to focus a couple days on their relationship with God and the commitment they are about to make through the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Again this year, the Girls & Boys retreats will be held at Hunting Ridge Retreat Center in Winchester, VA. For more information about the facility, check out their website:

Due to the pandemic and for the safety of everyone, St. Mark RE has decided to hold two (one day) retreats via ZOOM. This will be part of your whole retreat. The other part will take place in April when we invite NET to host the Day of Reflection. Hopefully, this Reflection Day can take place in the Cassidy Activities Center in person.

When are the retreats?

Boys: Saturday, October 24, 2020 ; Beginning at 9 am until TBD

Girls: Saturday, November 7, 2020 ; Beginning at 9 am until TBD

The ZOOM link will be emailed out to all 8th grade parents and youth an hour before the retreat begins. The entire ZOOM retreat will be recorded per compliance with the Diocese.
Full participation is required for credit.

ZOOM guidelines and rules will be given out beforehand.

There will be no make up for these retreats unless due to sickness (with a doctor’s note).


Why do the Confirmation youth need something extra when they attend RE or ST. MARK School?

During His three years of public ministry, Jesus would sometimes invite His disciples to “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk 6:31)

Retreat is not just about what you know about the faith. Many popes, and saints went on retreat. People go on retreat before making a big decision. CONFIRMATION is a big decision.


How will my child get to the Retreat Facility?

Certified Bus Companies transport your child from ST. MARK to Hunting Ridge Retreat Center/Concord Retreat Center and back to ST. MARK. Students must ride on the bus to and from retreat.


Who volunteers for Retreat?

1. Adults who are fully compliant (completed background check and has attended Virtus), according to the Diocese of Arlington. Adult Volunteers have previously included: Deacon Duck and Deacon John, ST. MARK teachers and Catechists, men and women  Youth Apostles (lay individuals  committed to serving our youth) and other adult volunteers. Two adult volunteers are assigned a small group to lead them in discussions, activities and present key talks.

Kevin Flores and Kathy Sullivan will attend as Retreat Staff Coordinators on both retreats.

2. High Schoolers associated with ST. MARK that have been CONFIRMED. They assist the Adult Leaders in small group discussions, lead group activities, give personal talks and interact with the youth during free time.


What role to the Priests have on Retreat?

The priest(s) only come for the day to say Mass and to hear Confession. They do not stay overnight.


What happens on Retreat?

Some find it helpful to have a basic understanding of the different stages of this retreat:

  • Friday Evening – Friday’s activities focus on helping the kids relax and ready their minds and hearts for a spiritual experience. The goal is to have the kids feeling comfortable, safe and open to the retreat experience.
  • Saturday Morning / Early Afternoon – Confession is the focus for this time. We provide time for the youth to exam their conscious and a period of reflection as they move forward with a renewed confidence in their relationship with God.
  • Saturday Evening– Saturday evening is about building community and helping the kids fall in love with Christ and His Church. The kids will enjoy 1-2 hours of free time where they can play organized games. Later in the evening, we have Adoration, helping to facilitate a closer encounter with Jesus. We typically end the night with a bonfire and s’mores (weather permitting).
  • Sunday – Sunday is about bringing the retreat experience home. We have Sunday Mass and encourage the kids to ponder how they will live out their faith, post-retreat/Confirmation.


Who is in my child’s cabin overnight?

8 youth, all of the same gender, two fully compliant Adult volunteers and maybe 1 high school student.

What are the bathroom facilities in the cabin?

Each cabin has two toilets, two showers and two sinks in each cabin.
Adults shower and change in a separate cabin and High Schoolers shower when youth are in chapel or at a talk.


What does my child need to bring?

  • Snacks – We ask that each child bring a snack to share with 8-10 people. Snacks will be collected when we arrive at the Retreat Center and will be shared during different breaks during the course of the retreat. Please avoid foods with nuts as some children have peanut/tree nut allergies.
  • Several changes of clothing with the ability to layer for cold weather
  • Shoes for sports/activity
  • Bath towel, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • Sleeping bag, pillow, small blanket (blanket is optional since cabins will be heated)
  • Games that can be played in less than an hour
  • Sporting equipment (frisbee, soccer ball, volleyball, etc)
  • Bible and/or journal (may be helpful, though it isn’t strictly necessary)


What does my child need to leave at home?

  • Cell Phone
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry and other valuables

A retreat offers the opportunity for the youth to temporarily disconnect and put their energy into combining fun and faith elements on the retreat. We hope they come with an open mind, ready to meet new people, enjoy themselves and be inspired.

If a student must call home, they can use the cell phone of one of the adult leaders. Also, please refrain from bringing valuable items that could get accidentally lost on retreat.


What if my child needs to take medication?

  1. A doctor or nurse usually accompanies us on retreat. If a doctor or nurse in not available, an adult who has undergone Medical Administrative Training attends.
  2. A medical administration form will be given to all parents to fill out regarding all medication a child may need.


Where is the closest medical facility?

Winchester Medical Emergency Center. Open 24 hours and is approximately 15 minutes from Hunting Ridge Retreat Center.


What meals are provided?

Your child will be provided breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday. In addition, snacks will be provided during breaks.


What is my child has a food allergy?

The cook does a good job making sure youth with allergies have a substitute dish for each meal served. If there is an allergy other than peanut, shellfish, or gluten-free diets, please contact Kevin or Nancy about other food accommodations.


Is there 24-hour Security?

There is a 1 adult to 7 youth ratio on retreat. At night, an adult volunteer remains awake after lights out until 6:00 am to make sure all cabins and grounds are secure.


How do I get a hold of someone in the event of an emergency?

Kevin and Nancy will provide all parents with their cell phone numbers. There is adequate cell coverage at the facility. The phone number for the retreat center is (540) 662-9004 during business hours.


What if my child needs to reach me?

The youth may ask any adult for assistance in reaching out to parents. Cell phones will be available to them.


Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

Kevin Flores at or 703-938-5656

Jean Lupinacci at or 703-938-1948



The 2020 ST. MARK Confirmation Retreat Permission Form will be available online and is due to the Youth/RE Office by September 25, 2020.


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