From Encounterites to Encounter Leaders


Becca Baker

Several Encounterites and leaders enjoy their free time.

Caitlin B. '19, Writer

From Nov. 1 to Nov. 4, twenty-five Padua juniors and seniors attended Encounter XLIV (44) at the St. Raphaela Center. In addition to the Encounterites, the student who attended the retreat for the first time, there were eight senior leaders. Among them were seniors Rebecca Baker and Melissa Marazzo, who both attended Encounter XLII (42) last year.  

Having already gone through the experience of Encounter, Baker and Marazzo were eligible to apply to be on the team. On her decision to lead, Baker said, “I wanted to help people like my Encounter helped me. ” Marazzo had a similar reasoning for participating, saying, “[Encounter]  truly changed my life. I wanted others to get that same experience that I had a year ago, and what better way than to lead others in their own faith journeys.

Leading the retreat is entirely different from experiencing the retreat for the first time. “As an Encounterite, I learned more things about myself and my faith then ever before. I started to understand that no matter how alone and lost we may feel at times, we truly are never alone, ” Marazzo said. “However, as a leader, although I did not have any big ‘aha Jesus’ moment, I grew in my faith in a completely different way. I saw others grow in their faith and witnessed other peoples ‘aha’ moments which is ten times better and ten times more rewarding to see others have that moment that I did.”

While both members of the team agree both leading and being an Encounterite are great experience, they prefer one over the other. “I preferred being a leader because I try to help others in any way I can, and it helped me grow as a person, and as a leader,” Baker said. On the other hand, Marazzo, who preferred her first Encounter experience, said that it “will always have a very special place in my heart because it was when my faith journey fully blossomed and was one of the best weekends in my life.