Working title: The Śro Story

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You have stumbled upon, or have been invited to, an open work to capture in wiki-form the experience of "Środowisko" lived by a network of friends united though Quiet Waters Media at the Cabrini Center, friends hailing from Children of Mary Homeschooling, San Damiano Youth Group, WLOF Station of the Cross, Morning Star Family Holy Hour, St. Luke's Mission of Mercy, Franciscan University of Steubenville, some Roman Pontifical Universities and a Parish in Baltimore. The notes found here focus on an event that could otherwise be known as a Catholic Culture Experience (one debated alternative name for the event). While these pages (Środowiki?) are a way for those of us in different places to share our notes about what works for events, it is also thought towards a more formal and better understanding of how Pope John Paul II's approach to community is prophetic.

Thanks to Śro-père Fr. Martin Moleski for hosting this dialog on his own space, teaching us the ways of the wiki, and being an enthusiastic protagonist.

If you would like to become an editor on this wiki, send your name and e-mail address to Fr. Moleski.

The story of Środowisko

Środowisko is not a conference, camp, or package program. It is not first of all an activity, but refers to a group of people. It was a name used by Pope John Paul II to refer to his people, and his people came together for retreat-vacation events.
How does one use a name without hijacking it, a name for such a remarkable group with its canonized leader? There are precedents. In 1942 a German youth group calling themselves "the White Rose" came together around a professor to combat Nazism on an ideological level. In 1995 a group in Madison Wisconsin, inspired by their story and sharing their heroic ideal, took up the group's name "White Rose" for the task of an intellectual apostolate in their pro-life mission. Quiet Waters' use of the name "Środowisko" is in a like manner, inspired by the story of John Paul II's Środowisko and with great reverence and homage to their experience, while we create our own in a similar vein.
A milieu is not a militia... in a milieu you "receive" your people, in a militia you "recruit" them.
The Środowisko of JPII

School of Prayer

  • Mass
  • Liturgy of the hours
  • Lectio Divina
  • Rosary
  • Adoration and Confession
  • Silence

School of Communication

  • Video

This is the outline used for the week-long "crash course in videography" from years 1 - 4. With a solid group of leaders that already know a lot about video editing it's been more efficient to go over most of these things in the small groups themselves (depending on the type of project they will be producing) and save the group presentations for other things.

We've also shown clips from Navis pictures "How to make a movie".

1) Introduction to new media video production. Theological and theoretical aspects of thinking about new media. Video communication as the art of light.

2) Organization of production: Roles and goals

3) Writing for video: How to make treatments, scripts and storyboards

4) Audio Basics: Introduction to the microphones and their use

5) Introduction to composition for photography and video

6) Introduction of lighting for video

7) How to interview and be interviewed, different styles of interviews, how to talk to a video camera.

9) Introduction to post-production audio and music

10) Graphics and special effects, color correction and light, subtitles, CG

11) Editing: The grammar of video editing, exploring the languages of different styles, introduction to types of digital video editing software

12) How to Publish and / or television media: Youtube and beyond

School of Community

  • Dishes

"I like doing dishes, you can really talk and get to know one another". -Will Blackley

School of Ars Ecclesia

  • Icons
  • Mosaics
  • Stained glass windows
  • Illuminated manuscripts

The integration of ecclesial art projects in the srodowisko event was the magic ingredient which balanced the schedule and tied together teaching theology and media projects. The first year there were no individual craft projects with the logic "the video is the craft" and artistic energies were directed to storyboards and production elements of the video. By the end of the week the groups had finished the production aspects of the video and members of the group would be restless to see it finished. The next year "crafts"were introduced, we began with little projects - we designed and made woolen scapulars (with materials donated from the local Carmelites) and stenciled the designs on homemade shirts in 2008, tie-dyed shirts in 2009, made nice wooden rosaries and painted flower pots ("Rooted in Christ") in 2010. The first time we fully integrated a theme with a more elaborate ecclesial art project, video projects and theological teaching points was in 2011 when our friend, artist Britta Williams told us about how she taught icon writing to middle and highschool students.

The integration of a personal project that would take a whole week, and the harmonization of a prayerful "pilgrimage" with the steps of the art project lead to a much more relaxed atmosphere. Some people work better in groups, some people work better alone. The week event now had ample possibilities for both. When a group hits a wall on their video project they can do the next step on their art project. Early risers happily worked alone in the quiet on their icon.

The steps of the art project are linked to a personal journey of prayer and discovery [liber peregrinationis]. The art and video is tied into a theological theme the liturgy of the hours carries the day.

Organizing the projects so everyone could work at their own pace in a small space was a challenge. Pizza boxes have been the key. Fresh new pizza boxes donated by Blasdell's or bought at a restaurant supply store provide a way to give everyone personal mobile space for their projects. They also served a secondary function as mailboxes for mystery messengers.


Group leaders

"Camp" Cook/Mom and Dad



Rebecca and Sara

Śro Things

Encounters A presentation by a person or group that has something to do with the theme. (Past encounters: Prof. Kazimierz Braun, Fr. Peter Kauralus, Sr. Emily Marsh, Sr. Ann Kelly, Fr. Vincent Nagle (via Skype from Jerusalem), Helene Paharik (Skype), Catholic Voices Washington (Skype), Micheal John Porier, Mary Porier )

Mystery Messengers -

Śro Lingo

A certain lexicon has developed over the years as girls look for ways to describe their experiences from the week. The colloquialisms and idioms are usually formed by replacing the beginning of a word with the morpheme "Śro" or "Śr" to form a portmanteau. Or, in this case, a portmanŚro.

  • Śropening (opening)
  • Środown or Środeo (hoedown or rodeo)
  • Śroappro (appropriate)
  • Śreunion (reunion)