In 1989, our nation was blessed with the birth of two figures who would impact a generation with their grace, talent, and influence: Taylor Swift and the ministry of the REAP Team.
…okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But the facts are true – since 1989, the REAP Team has been using their time and talent to hopefully influence young people of all ages, in and around the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, to have a grace-filled encounter with Christ and His Church through retreats.
WHAT IS REAP?
Three full-time staff members and a swarm of over one hundred ministry volunteers manage to provide the moments of grace to over 11,500 people every year, over the course of about 170 events. Retreats are special opportunities for grace, when we pause and take time out of our normal lives to listen for the voice of God in an intentional way. Our seriously fun Catholic retreats can be as short as an hour, or as long as two days. We cover a wide variety of topics: the Sacraments, freedom in Christ, chastity, forgiveness, leadership, and God’s loving plan for our lives.
We work with everyone from second graders and their parents, preparing for their First Sacraments, to middle schoolers preparing for Confirmation, to high school students, to parents and faculty and everyone in between. Through humor, skits, talks, and small group sharing, we hope to introduce our retreat participants (either for the first time, or in a deeper way) to the love of Jesus.
WHAT DO WE DO?
We come to the people: our mission has, from the beginning, been one of a traveling retreat team, within and beyond the Archdiocese. There are some ministries that operate out of a central location, like the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury, but it is sometimes difficult for parishes on the edges of the Archdiocese to bring their people into town. Many folks have told us that it is a blessing that they do not have to come to us; we will come to them.
We take our ministry very seriously: we want our events to be meaningful, inspirational, consistent with Church teaching, and helpful. On any given retreat, we know that attendees might be strong in faith, weak in faith, agnostic, or atheist. Some struggle with Church teachings on many complex moral issues; some have been wounded by the Church in the past and so are hesitant to engage with her now. We also know that for some, our retreat might be the first, last, and only retreat they ever attend.
We have fun: we tell jokes, play games, eat snacks, share meals, and mingle with those who attend our retreats. It’s important that retreatants know that we are real people, living in the real world, and that we love life. Jesus has called us to life abundant! A serious part of our mission is bringing the abundant joy we have in Him to the people that we serve. We meet people where they are at, in the hopes of bringing them where we would like them to be, which is closer to Jesus.
We are Catholic: passionate about our Catholic faith, we do our best to witness to that passion at all of our events, no matter the audience. We always remind people of the beauty of the Catholic Church and her teachings, particularly the sacraments. When desired by our local contact people, our retreats can include opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, and Reconciliation.
HOW CAN I HELP?
There is no way we could do what we do without our ministry volunteers. We rely on our teammates to help us execute these seriously fun Catholic retreats as their schedule allows. There are no annual meetings, no minimum hours served, and no monthly dues – just an application process, a training day in August, and the freedom to sign up for retreats that are convenient to your schedule. Check out this promo video for a better idea of what we do, our Twitter and Instagram accounts for a feel of who we are, and the application at our website for more information – all application materials are due by July 15th, 2018.
And if the ministry isn’t the right place for you to serve, perhaps it’s the perfect fit for someone you know. Make sure to pass this opportunity on to them. We look forward to seeing you at one of our ministry events soon.