‘Don’t underestimate the power of a tiara’: girls attend Catholic Princess Retreat
By Julie Filby
Little girls who have dreamed of becoming princesses had the opportunity to do just that at the Catholic Princess Retreat Feb. 2 at St. Peter Church in Greeley.
“Disney has nothing on the Catholic Church,” said Father Matt Hartley, pastor and founder of the retreat. “So many girls long to be princesses growing up, thinking that it’s only make-believe.I want girls to grow up knowing the truth of who they are and how much they are worth to God.”
More than 140 girls, from age 5 to 14, gathered at the church from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the retreat, which featured
five breakout sessions, prayer, singing, dancing, lunch, a treasure hunt; and culminated with a coronation ceremony.
“At the coronation ceremony I said: ‘Don’t look to a mirror to find how valuable you are, look to the Cross... in God’s eyes, you are worth dying for,’” Father Hartley said. “I reminded them (of the Scripture): ‘You are precious in my eyes and honored and I love you’ (Is 43:4).”
Sessions included God is our King, Mary is our Queen, Daughter of God, Praying as a Princess, and Princess Saint—where the young ladies learned about St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
“As a princess, she showed great charity to the poor,” said Father Hartley. “She knew the true King, and served her brothers and sisters by starting a hospital and caring for the sick, as well as visiting the poor in their homes.”
The girls made cards saying “Jesus loves you” to be delivered to visitors at the parish’s food bank; and wrote letters to God that were placed on the altar during the coronation ceremony.
Katie McNulty, a student at the University of Northern Colorado involved in campus ministry and FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), assisted with the retreat, along with several other college students.
“As I looked around the room, I saw eager eyes, smiling faces, bouncing in chairs, and hearts all a-glow,” she shared with the Denver Catholic Register. And that was just the volunteers at a planning meeting before the retreat. At that meeting, one of the volunteers asked: “Do we get tiaras too?”
Father Hartley conducted a coronation ceremony for volunteers at 9:30 a.m., prior to the start of the retreat. “When my turn came up, tears began to fill my eyes,” said McNulty. “It was truly such a beautiful moment and reminder of who I am: a princess, God’s beloved daughter."
“So, don’t underestimate the power of a tiara,” she continued. “When a daughter of God understands her worth as a princess, (a tiara) serves as a firm reminder that she is the
most beautiful piece of creation.”
The retreat is a must for all Catholic women, she said, and also featured a session for mothers titled: “What about me?”
“Whether 5, 14, 21 or 45; weall need the reminder that we are princesses,” she said, “that we are loved and special, and that God solely defines our worth.”
Another Catholic Princess Retreat is planned at St. Peter’s before the end of the year, according to Father Hartley. He hopes others parishes will consider hosting one as well.
“I think every girl is looking for her ‘princess moment,’” said Father Hartley, “a moment when she feels loved, beautiful, precious and radiant.”
For more information, visit www.catholicprincess.com or call the parish office at 970-352-1060.
Julie Filby: 303-715-3123; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.twitter.com/DCRegisterJulie