Kairos (retreat)

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Kairos (from Greek καιρός,"[1]) is a Roman Catholic retreat program for high school and college. Kairos is part of the larger three-day movement in America, ultimately derived from the Cursillo movement founded in Spain in 1944. As such, the retreat is a four-day, three-night (or three-day, two-night in some cases) residential retreat,[2] with the aim of providing participants the chance to "contemplate God's role in their lives".[3]

It was first held in 1965, and under its current name since 1979. It is conceptually based in Ignatian spirituality, as put forth in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.[4] Kairos retreats are organized by hundreds of Catholic high schools in the United States, especially Jesuit schools, and they are also offered by certain schools in Australia, Ireland, Britain, Canada and Switzerland (in English and French).[citation needed]


The Kairos retreat program is based on the Cursillo retreat program and was developed in 1965 by the Diocese of Brooklyn, in the United States. A team of priests, brothers, and lay people under the direction of Fr. Douglas L. Brown of the Brooklyn Diocese made use of the Cursillo Retreat format, which has its roots in Ignatian spirituality, but adapted it for older teenagers.[5]

The retreat was immediately successful and within three years it was adopted in Connecticut, California, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington D.C. and eventually Michigan and Wisconsin. [6]

In December, 1975, Fr. Bob Colaresi, O.Carm, from Joliet Catholic High School, further developed the program and made a retreat that was first called "Chiros" by Fr. Kevin McBrien. In March 1979, it was properly spelled Kairos. By 1995 the program had spread to 21 Jesuit high schools throughout the United States and dozens of others including Capuchin, Lasallian, Dominican, Carmelite, Franciscan and several other orders.

Current form[edit]

The retreat is usually led mostly by the peers of the participants.[7]

Students who have been on the retreat typically come back with a better sense of the world and are more inclined to share their faith with others.

The team is composed of student leaders who have already been on the retreat and a few faculty from the school. Generally, each Kairos is headed by a student or recent graduate Rector who is responsible for the overall retreat experience and guides the leaders in creating the retreat.

The specificity of the Kairos retreat is that it focuses mostly on helping one find his or her own personal relationship with God during a few days of discerning and discovery. Through the course of the retreat, the building of a strong community takes place, as there is a strong focus on the concepts of confidentiality and trust within the small groups and the entire retreat group as well.

Kairos retreats are often held at retreat houses removed from the hustle and bustle of mainstream society. With this concept in mind, the leaders of many Kairos retreats often request that the retreatants hand in their cell phones and other electronic devices, so that they can be more fully immersed in the experience.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "There are two Greek words for time: chronos and Kairos. Chronos emphasizes duration, succession of moments, chronological time. Kairos does not. Kairos is the Lord's Time, and is judged, not by its succession or duration but by its value, the intensity of the experience of God's presence in the midst of the Christian community." Trinity College Campus Ministry Archived February 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Kairos". Marincatholic.org. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  3. ^ Boston College: Kairos Retreats
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20121002234016/http://www.usfca.edu/university_ministry/kairos_retreat%282%29/. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20101012015205/http://www.oaklandcatholic.org/student-resources/school-spirituality/kairos/. Archived from the original on October 12, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20101129191132/http://siprep.org/ministry/retreats.cfm. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Kairos New York
  8. ^ (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20110727084528/http://www.xavierhs.org/s/717/images/editor_documents/Campus%20Ministry/KAIROS--RetreatantInfoGeneric.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)