The heart of the mission of Bishop O’Connell High School is to be a place to encounter Jesus Christ. Retreats are one of the ways that Campus Ministry provides an opportunity for students to have a true encounter with Christ. Each student is required to participate in one class retreat a year. These retreats provide each student with an opportunity to experience the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist, to experience His healing power in the sacrament of Reconciliation, and to enter into a relationship with Him in personal prayer through different activities. Each retreat has a different theme and structure to the day, but each has a goal of introducing Jesus to the individual student so that when the student graduates from Bishop O’Connell, they have a deep personal relationship with God.

Class Retreat Themes

Freshmen: Welcome to O'Connell

This retreat seeks to introduce the freshmen class early in their high school careers to the traditions of Bishop O’Connell. In this retreat students participate in team-builders, mass, adoration/confession, and talks on: building healthy relationships, O'Connell traditions, and being a part of the body of Christ as a high school student.

Sophomores: Service

This retreat is based around a day of service in which students participate in a service revolving around working with the poor. The retreat happens in the Spring semester and serves to introduce students to the changes in their service requirements for junior and senior year. During the retreat students will experience team-builders, community service, and mass as a class.

Juniors: Leadership

This retreat is held at Marymount University in the spring semester. The retreat focuses on the transition for juniors into the leaders of the school. The main message of the retreat is how do you use your God given skills and talents in a positive way to better your surrounding community. Partnering with Marymount’s campus ministry, O’Connell students are able to explore how they can become leaders in their own sphere of influence.

Seniors: The Christian Life After O'Connell

This retreat is an overnight retreat held at the Northern Virginia 4-H center in Front Royal. The main message of this retreat is how to carry on the Christian life after graduation.

Other Retreat Offerings

Several other optional and meaningful retreats are available for students looking to further build their relationship with Jesus.


Kairos is offered twice a year for Juniors and Seniors. Kairos is a four day, three night retreat built on the theme of: “Who am I and how do I build a relationship with God?” Through the retreat, students are able to take the time to step back and look at how God interacts with us on a personal level. It aims to give teenagers practical ways to see and experience Jesus in their everyday life.


Stuebenville Youth Conference is held over the summer open to all students. This popular weekend retreat is held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. The theme varies from year to year, but each retreat is filled with profound experiences of the sacraments. One conference attendee said of their experience: “The Steubenville Conferences changed my heart. I realized the importance of growing my relationship with God on my own time, through prayer. That is what gives us strength to share our love for God with others.”

Find out more about Steubenville 2017.