Jeannine and BJ Agugliaro of Basking Ridge, NJ, both members of Regnum Christi, have been the leaders of the Holy Week Missions for youth at Old St. Patrick’s Basilica in Soho (Manhattan) for the past 7 years. In that time, they have seen many young people return, year after year, for the incredible experience of evangelizing on the street corners and inviting people back to the sacraments before Easter. The spiritual thirst they saw in the young adults who came to be missionaries inspired them to find a way to bring them closer to Christ through a retreat.
“The idea came up as a result of the college and young adult track we had at the Holy Week Mission in Soho this past March,” said Siobhan O’Connor, a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi. “When the mission ended, Jeannine and I both thought that they needed a retreat on their level in order to be spiritually fed. They had given so much of themselves as team leaders working with kids in the high school track on the mission.”
On Friday, August 17, thirteen young adults arrived at Bishop Molloy retreat center in Queens, NY, for a silent spiritual exercises weekend retreat. Led by Fr. Stephen Dyas, LC and Siobhan O’Connor, CRC, the retreat was facilitated by Jeannine and BJ Agugliaro of Basking Ridge, NJ, both members of Regnum Christi.
Jeannine personally followed up with all the college students who were leaders at the mission to invite them to come to Spiritual Exercises. For the majority, this was the first time they had ever done a silent retreat. On Friday, August 17, thirteen young adults arrived at Bishop Molloy retreat center in Queens, NY, for a silent Ignatian-style weekend retreat. Led by Fr. Stephen Dyas, LC, and Siobhan O’Connor, CRC, the retreat was facilitated by Jeannine and BJ.
The weekend followed the plan of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, with meditations on the life of Christ, conferences on prayer, discernment and making a personal spiritual plan, as well as a viewing of The Passion of the Christ to illustrate the meditation on Christ’s Passion and Death. This was followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday night and a moment to experience the Sacred Heart of Christ in silent prayer.
Fr. Stephen remarked, “It was great to see these young men and women so hungry for God and willing to give him some of their time. Doing a silent weekend retreat is not easy but everyone was so happy afterwards. Confession and Mass, along with some personal accompaniment, go a long way in a person’s life.”
After ending the retreat by renewing their baptismal promises, the students had a time to share about their experience during the retreat. Words such as “joy”, “renewal”, “light” and “peace” came up repeatedly. “We hope that this can become an annual event,” said Jeannine. “It has been a blessing to see these young people grow in their relationship with Our Lord this weekend, and I can’t wait to see the next step for each of them.”
For more information on the NYC Holy Week Mission 2019 (High School and College tracks), and future retreats for young adults: www.regnumchristinyctnj.org