August 5, 2016
When Marcy Moore went on a Search retreat in the mid-1970s, something was profoundly transformed within her, and she hasn't been the same since.
“On the retreat, I realized that God accepts me for who I am, and I saw that He works in mysterious ways,” Marcy says. “I also got to meet people who believed what I believed and it gave me the support I needed to go forward in my faith.”
And, as a faithful steward of God's gifts, Marcy has been able to give back for all she received from Search—and then some.
“For the last 40 years, I have really enjoyed helping with Search retreats. My husband Steve also started helping with the retreats when our son Anthony served as a student director, and my daughter Stephanie has been involved with the program as well,” Marcy explains. “Steve and I now enjoy helping at the retreats and volunteering in the office. We want to help young people grow in Christian maturity through Search. When the young retreatants first come, they often look confused and sad, but by the end of the week there is a huge change in their attitude about how they look at their faith and who they are.”
Search for Christian Maturity is a weekend retreat experience sponsored by the diocese. The weekends are for high school and college-age young adults who are at least 15 years old. Although the program is rooted in and backed by the Catholic faith, it is open to young people of any denomination or creed. Search weekends are held five times throughout the year in a remote setting of the Badlands Ministries Camp south of Medora.
“The Badlands Ministries Camp is a wonderful facility,” Marcy comments. “It is very welcoming, and you can feel the presence of God there. It has dorms and a beautiful little chapel. Just to have an opportunity to drive out to that area is phenomenal in itself!”
The locale provides a quiet place to think, talk, question and wonder about life and faith in an accepting and challenging environment. The retreats feature various talks, which are mostly given by a team peer group. There are also sessions on Christian marriage given by a priest, a nun and a married couple.
“The talks are given by peers so that the retreatants can relate on a one-to-one basis about the things they deal with as young people,” Marcy explains.
There is also confession and adoration on Saturday night finalizing the weekend, which is filled with the power of God's mercy in a remarkable way.
“Search helps teens grow in their faith in so many ways, and enables them to see why we do what we do as Catholics,” Marcy says. Sometimes the teens teach more than the adults do!”
Paige Rising, a student at the University of Mary, who has been part of 13 Search weekends, raves about the ministry, which has given her the fellowship she has longed for.
“Search has made a huge impact on my faith life by showing me that there are other people my age out there that hunger for a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ as well,” Paige says. “The events at Search are awesome, and God certainly is present at them, but the most important aspect of the retreat is the people who are there. Search has given me an opportunity to create lasting friendships with faith-filled people who are also searching for a deeper connection with God.”
Ashley Becker, also a University of Mary student, can't say enough great things about Search. She has gone on many Search weekends in the past few years, and last year, was invited to be a student director.
“Search started a thirst and hunger for me to grow in my faith,” she says. “It also provided a support group for me to grow in my faith, and it has also opened other opportunities for me to go on other retreats and do other faith activities. I feel I have grown closer to God on each retreat. Each one of them is different and special in their own way. I liked being a director because you receive more by giving more. Just knowing I have come to a point where I have an influence on others, and they have an influence on me, is reassuring. To be able to give back to a program that has given so much to me is very rewarding.”
In the end, being open to serving God means being open to receiving the presence of God, especially in the midst of our busy and hectic lives. In many ways, a Search weekend is the perfect way to unplug from the business of life and heed the loving words of Christ.
The cost to go on a Search weekend is $75. Scholarships are available. The retreats start on Friday evening and run through Sunday late afternoon. Upcoming retreats will take place from Oct. 14 16 and from Dec. 9-11.
Fr. Keith Streifel, pastor at St. Joseph in Dickinson, serves as the spiritual director for the Search ministry. For more information, visit bismarckdiocese.com/search1 or contact the Search Office at 204-7185.