New program geared to teens, college students

Record Assistant Editor

The Archdiocese of Louisville will launch a new program in August that aims to help older teens and college-age adults to grow in their faith.

People who’ve experienced the program in the past — it is called Teens and 20s Encounter Christ (TEC) — are invited to be a part of this new effort and they’re invited to a day of reflection on April 28 at Flaget Center, 1935 Lewiston Drive.

TEC was established in 1965, initially as an off-shoot of the Cursillo Movement, and has been used in 40 dioceses around the United States. It begins with a program — a three-day weekend retreat centered on the paschal mystery — and aims to foster an ongoing movement in which participants grow in their relationship with Christ and create a community of faith.

“It’s exciting to think that we would bring in a new program that develops a community of teenagers, young adults and older adults,” said Dr. Carole Goodwin, the TEC coordinator for the archdiocese and the archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry.

“The weekend (retreat) experience focuses the participants on the paschal mystery and how their lives connect to Jesus,” she explained. “It really helps us to understand who Jesus is to us and understand that the call to discipleship affects our daily living.”

Goodwin and a several others — including St. Bernard Church parishioner Jeanne Recktenwald — have been working to bring TEC to the archdiocese for two years.

Recktenwald said during a phone interview April 16 that she wanted to bring TEC to the archdiocese after experiencing a Koinonia retreat, which is based on TEC but developed for adults.

Her Koinonia group meets for Mass on Mondays and then “we pray the rosary, say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and then go to Fern Creek Highview Ministries.”

All of this activity centers on “encountering Christ,” she explained. “I want that for the kids, especially those in public high school who don’t get to go on retreats.”

Two of Recktenwald’s grandchildren and about a dozen others from the Archdiocese of Louisville have since experienced TEC in the Diocese of Evansville, Ind., which adopted the movement about 25 years ago.

Goodwin said TEC has been a great success there, adding that “vocations have gone up in Evansville. A lot of their young priests have attended TEC.”

A young priest who experienced TEC will serve as the movement’s spiritual director here in this archdiocese. Father Michael Wimsett experienced TEC as a young person in the Diocese of Owensboro and now serves as a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville. He serves as associate pastor of the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Ky., and St. Michael Church in Fairfield, Ky. Father Wimsatt was in Italy at deadline and unavailable to comment.

Catholics of all ages who have experienced the TEC movement are invited to attend the April 28 gathering at Flaget Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will include time for reflection, faith sharing and study.

The archdiocese would like to gather a couple dozen more volunteers to launch the program. So far, about 30 lay people, a couple of women religious, a deacon couple and 10 priests have committed to make TEC happen.

But the movement relies almost entirely on volunteers for its various gatherings throughout the year — including several days of reflection and two retreats. The retreats alone require at least 20 volunteers each. The first two have already been scheduled. They will be Aug. 4-6 and Feb. 16-18.

“TEC is very successful when there is a large adult base to support it,” said Goodwin.

Not only do volunteers provide material support during various events, those who have been formed by TEC provide the foundation of the movement, said Goodwin.

“They form a ‘community of disciples,’ ” she said.  “The idea of being a disciple is to really come to understand who Jesus is, what he taught and how that should impact our daily lives.”

All those who experience TEC become a part of that community, she added.

Teens — who are at least 17 and have completed the first semester of their junior year of high school  — and college-age young adults are invited to take part in the August or February retreats.
For more information about TEC, the April 28 gathering or the retreats, call Goodwin at the Flaget Center, 448-8581.

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