Fr. Ronald’s Mystery Trip Helps Students Learn How to Trust
Recently, St. Bede Chaplain Father Ronald Margherio, O.S.B., SBA Alumni Dave Margherio ’73 and chaperone Sue Weber accompanied eight students on a mystery trip. For nine years Fr. Ronald has been the ‘pastor’ at St. Bede Academy and for the past seven years has successfully planned a mystery trip based on themes that come directly from the Rule of St. Benedict. Each day, in each class, the students pray: May the Rule of St. Benedict be our guide, May the Spirit of St. Bede stay with us forever. The trip is planned for five days and the students have no idea where they are going or what they will be doing as they head out to destinations unknown. Until the students agree to go on the mystery trip, they don’t even know who the other students are that will be traveling with them. The Rule of St. Benedict provides the foundation for the SBA all-school masses and prayer services, retreats and mission trips, along with many other activities planned by Fr. Ronald.
This year the primary destinations for the mystery trip were New Orleans and Memphis. Each student received a prayer partner for the duration of the trip and remains unknown until they prepare to return. Throughout the trip they pray for one another and observe how their prayer partner experiences the essence of the mystery trip. One of Margherio’s main objectives for the trip was for the experience to allow students to trust in others, trust in themselves and above all, trust in God. “Everyone prays together, pitches in to ensure no one feels left out and it helps them build a foundation of trust with each and God,” stated Margherio.
Each day, one student leads the group in a trust prayer, composed from the famous Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."
In New Orleans, Rich Pattarozzi ’61 took the group to lunch and coordinated a tour of the World War Π museum. Tony Margherio ’03, Director of Marketing and Promotions at Tulane University, lead the group on a private tour of the university and arranged for several meals at various New Orleans’ restaurants. The group attended mass at the prestigious Loyola University and in Memphis, visited the historic Civil Rights Museum and Graceland.
On the final day of the trip, students were given the name of their prayer partner and were asked to write a letter to their parents, to share their thoughts about the trip, and what they felt that their prayer partner had experienced by participating in the mystery trip. Margherio stated that, “Spiritually, this trip will serve as one of the most memorable ways to learn about trust.”