I love kids. This last retreat underlined that for me.
We arrived in beautiful California in the afternoon, though for us, it was the evening. Our generous hostess drove us through the farmland just above the fertile San Joaquin valley along highway 49, which to all you history buffs makes reference to the events that put Sacramento on the map, literally: the gold rush of 1849. John Sutter's mill is not too far from here, but we have no time for sightseeing. We were promised a log house, but found ourselves at a log mansion situated at the top of a giant hill overlooking the valley below us and standing at the foot of mountains behind us. Goats, cattle, dogs and puppies alternately jump and sleep among the rocks and grassy fields and twisted trees on this thousand acre ranch.
Its amazing to me how L.A., Santa Barbara, Napa, San Fransisco and this place call all be in the same state... (which reminds me, does anyone realize that California has a Govenator? I bought a Schwarzenegger mug in the airport gift store labeled "The Govenator of California." Wow.)
Back to business: the retreat was at a beautiful location and we had minimal setting up to do before starting. The 26 kids present were a great group. They were lively and attentive, and really took advantage of the extra time we gave for Adoration, Confession, and the rosary. Many had not been to confession since receiving First Holy Communion, only one had ever said the rosary, and no one even knew what Adoration was. Yet their spirit was great. I knew they were paying attention when after settling in again to the retreat hall after confession, one kid raised his hand in response to my telling them to be proud of themselves that their souls were now clean and that they were able to do so much in one day. He said: "I read in the Examination of Conscience that its a sin to be proud of yourself." Well, he got me there, but only long enough for my brain to smile happily before answering him.
I love kids.