The truth about Kairos


Nell Burgener, Staff Writer

We are all guilty of being too quick to judge something that we don’t know anything about. This seems particularly true with the mysterious Kairos retreat, which is already being whispered about in the LFHS hallways.

For those unfamiliar with it, Kairos is a four-day/three-night retreat for juniors and seniors in high school, set in Catholic Churches. The word “kairos” is the ancient Greek word for “time.” Therefore, the point of the retreat is to be on “God’s time” and generally contemplate God’s role in your life.

For some reason, many kids who have never been on Kairos enjoy expressing their disapproval. Many of those people walk a thin line between poking fun and flat out bullying.

I would like to commend participants who have come home to their friends sarcastically asking how Kairos changed their lives. I would also like to recognize kids who are fresh off of Kairos who get hate after grabbing breakfast with their small group. I would like to applaud students who returned home from Kairos and put up with their peers who brought a bottle of maple syrup to accompany their “waffle necklace.”

When I learned about Kairos my junior year, I wasn’t one of the people who picked on kids who went on the retreat, but I also never saw myself as someone who would ever attend it. Before I knew it, I was in my senior year and decided to seek community through Kairos. I applied, got on the wait list, and the Sunday before the retreat started, I was offered a spot on K34.

Deciding to go on Kairos was undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life.

After returning home, I faced the anti-Kairos kids from a new perspective. After one day back at school post-Kairos, I knew that there were some truths of Kairos that needed to be faced immediately.

This is basically why I’m writing this article to begin with. So without further ado, these are some things that everyone needs to know about Kairos, whether they plan on attending the retreat or not:

  1. They are surprises, not secrets. It probably sounds like I’m just saying this to cover something up. But the truth is, there are things that happen at Kairos that not everyone can know about before they attend the retreat. I understand that it’s frustrating, but coming from a participant, not knowing everything that was happening made the experience 100 times better.
  2. You do not need to be Catholic to attend Kairos. This is a huge one. A big part of the reason that I never saw myself going on Kairos was because I’m not Catholic. I know of atheists who have gone on Kairos and gotten a lot out of the experience. The retreat is designed for anyone to be able to attend, as long as they are open-minded and ready to grow.
  3. The rumors about naked baptisms are not true. Enough said.
  4. Kai-high is a real thing. Many non-Kairos kids think this is all an act, but the truth is, after feeling nothing but pure love for four days straight, you get a little kai-high and want to share the love that you felt with the rest of the world. Some people claim to have even felt “kai-baked.”
  5. It’s not a cult. Kairos is a retreat that invites everyone to apply and join in. Cults are very excluded groups, and just because there are certain surprises that you can’t find out about until you’re on the retreat, that doesn’t mean Kairos is a cult.
  6. Kairos is not a conversion clinic. The goal of Kairos is not to convert you. Many people do attend the retreat to grow closer to God, and that’s great, but you don’t have to, if that’s not your thing.