April 19 - 20, 2019

The Hunger for Justice retreat is a 35+ hour event leading up to Easter. Students begin with a beach prayer service and a final meal before beginning their 30 hour fast. Fasting allows us focus less on our bodies and to connect instead with the spiritual. Students often appreciate the challenge of not eating for 30 hours, and have a deep sense of pride and accomplishment at the end of the fasting time.

During the fasting retreat, students play group games and participate in spiritual reflections, but the primary focus of the retreat is the "homeless experience." Attendees build and spend the night in their own homes constructed out of cardboard in gym and cafeteria. The following day, we take a trip into Boston to hand out food to the homeless of Boston, then continue with service activities before attending the Easter Vigil mass. The event ends after Mass, followed by a giant feast to break the fast.

Hunger for Justice Leaders Retreat


This meeting is for leaders and staff of the Hunger for Justice retreat. The leaders retreat lets the leaders get to know one another, as well as show them how to lead students in group activities and discussions.

When we wake on Saturday morning we begin our day of service. All 350 participants board busses for Boston. Once there we hand out food, drinks, socks, hats, and gloves (that have been collected at the parishes) to the homeless at Boston Common, behind the Franciscan Shrine on Arch Street, and at Pine Street Inn. Before and after serving at each site, where the high schoolers not only hand out the food but also talk with the people and hear their stories, each participant hears a talk about healing grace and is offered the Sacrament of Confession at Arch Street. It is an amazing and heavenly thing to see so many youth receive the Sacrament of Penance and talk about how wonderful it is!

Early in the afternoon we return to the North Shore and divide into smaller groups in which we do several hours of service at nearly twenty different locations – food pantries, family homes, homeless shelters, and parishes. We do a variety of work including cleaning windows, yard work, organizing food and clothing donations, cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, and work in the parish churches. Throughout the whole experience the youth interact with the people that they are serving and are able to hear their stories and share their lives with one another. It is these experiences that the youth remember from year to year and that they share with their families and friends. After the many service projects are completed we come together to process and discuss the service experience that we have just engaged in. The reflections from the youth and adults are phenomenal!

Hunger for Justice concludes with the Easter Vigil Mass – some groups staying at St. Mary’s in Lynn and others returning to their own parish – followed by a Resurrection party and celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.

Each year the students enter into the suffering and Passion of the Christ through this retreat. They experience His presence in the people that they serve; they experience His life saving grace in the Sacraments; they see His mission being lived out in their parishes; and they live out John Paul II’s call for the new evangelization by calling others onto participation the following year.

In 2017 we plan to have hundreds of high schoolers once again participate in the Hunger for Justice retreat and experience Jesus’ saving power. We know that you are extremely busy, especially during the Holy Triduum, but we want to invite you to join us during the retreat experience. We hope that you will be able to join us as we reflect upon Christ’s Death on Friday afternoon, or as we grow as a community on Friday evening. Hopefully you will have some available time to join us in serving our brothers and sisters on Saturday morning in Boston, or perhaps join the priests at Arch Street in offering the youth the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We need help!

On April 19 (Good Friday) and April 20, 2019, something incredible is going to happen at St. Mary’s! Dozens of teens are going to gather to save the lives of hundreds of children around the World, specifically for earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile.

Hunger for Justice is a program that allows young people to make a significant impact on the problem of world hunger. By pledging to go without food, cell phones and shelter for 24 hours, participants not only raise money to help alleviate this type of suffering, but also gain a limited understanding of how it feels to experience hunger.

We persevere through the twenty-four hours together keeping busy over night with incredible prayers experiences, teens sharing their stories, games, music, dancing, and reflection, hopefully some sleep.

Holy Saturday we are participating in a myriad service projects, including feeding the homeless on the streets of Boston. Hunger for Justice concludes with teens returning their home Parishes for the Easter Vigil Mass and a party afterward. Teens who have participated in this retreat in the past refer to it as one of the best experiences of their life.

You can help

Understanding Easter weekend can be busy for many of you. We want to let you know there are SO MANY ways to help: today (or any day from now until the Famine) there is background work to be done. Also on the days of the event you can sign up for a two-hour shift which would be so helpful.

Being involved in this experience will give you new hope in our young people and give your Lenten journey true meaning.

Good Friday, April 19

  • All Marian Division students are encouraged to attend our Good Friday Service!
  • 1 p.m. Short Beach in Nahant we will be carrying the cross and having a teen reflection
  • 3 p.m. St Thomas Aquinas Nahant Veneration of the Cross
  • 10 p.m. Come by the café or Gym and see the student’s makeshift cardboard homes.

Holy Saturday April 20

  • 8 a.m.-noon Join us (or donate) as we bring Socks, Gloves, Food to the homeless on the Streets of Boston (we need lots of socks and gloves).
  • 2-4 p.m. Need Leaders to help take students to different Service Sites in Lynn
    • 7 p.m. Celebrate the Easter Vigil (conclusion of the Famine) with us at St. Mary’s

Other ways you can help:

  • Pray for us please
  • Celebrate with us Good Friday or Holy Saturday
  • Drop by and give a “pep talk” during the Famine
  • Write a letter of encouragement for someone you know doing the famine or a generic one we can deliver to the teens
  • Sponsor a student participating
  • Drop by Campus Ministry and see what the challenge of the day is!
  • Talk up the event in your classes
  • Donate some drinks or prizes we can give the students during the event (no food)

For more information contact Andrea Alberti. Participant registration forms are available here:

Registration Form
Teen Leader Application
Code of Behavior
Collection Sheet
Parent Info Sheet
Permission Slip