By Pastoral Minister Andy Huettl
Hello Parishioner. Have I a story for you & it starts earlier this year. Becky VanKauwenberg who is our Youth Ministry Director, asked if I would consider volunteering at the “Extreme Faith Camp” at Camp Tekakwitha. I would be working with campers from 6th through 8th grade. I saw this as a good way of seeing where these kids & young adults were in their faith journey, I said yes.
Becky said the theme of the camp would be the Holy Trinity. We would also talk to the young boy and girl campers on how to be good Christians in their behavior toward each other. Becky then stated that there would be directors of religious education from other parishes as staff. Adult volunteers and high school volunteers would serve as cabin and prayer team leaders. Becky VanKauwenberg and the other religious directors did a great job setting up this camp. The Holy Spirit was at work with these leaders.
As I mentioned before, the Holy Trinity was the theme of this camp. Pope Francis talked about the Most Holy Trinity at Vatican City, May 26, 2013. As he celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, Pope Francis spoke about how God is love.
“This love is not sentimental, emotional, but the love of the Father who is the source of all life, the love of the Son who died on the cross and rose, the love of the Spirit who renews man and the world,” he stated.“Jesus is the Son who made us know the merciful Father and brought to the world his ‘fire,’ the Holy Spirit.”
The staff explained what these qualities of the Holy Trinity were by scripture, prayer and example, to the young campers.
As God the Father of the Holy Trinity, the leaders sacrificed everything for their young campers. It was not about us, but about the campers. Example is a powerful tool, if you are asking them to be selfless, then you need to show them you are selfless in your actions.
Pope Francis said “Jesus is the Son who made us know the merciful Father.” The staff was the physical representation to the campers of “Jesus Christ the Son of the Trinity.” The staff made campers know the merciful Father by; reflections about the different persons of the Trinity, daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and Praise Music. They heard about Jesus and how he made his Father known to them by “The Word” and service. The campers found that through Jesus Christ, God loves them and will never leave them no matter what they do. God is always open to a person wanting forgiveness. On Wednesday night there were eight priests conducting the Sacrament of Reconciliation for all campers.
“Jesus is the Son who made us know the merciful Father and brought to the world his ‘fire,’ the Holy Spirit, who renews man and the world,” Pope Francis’s statement on the Holy Spirit of the Trinity. There was a prayer team of high school students that brought the “fire” to the campers. They did it by doing plays on the different persons of the Holy Trinity, and praying all week for the campers. From morning to night in the Adoration Chapel, they would pray for various intentions or with campers who came in during free time to pray. This group of high school students through their prayers brought the “fire” of the Holy Spirit to all Thursday night at our final Eucharistic Adoration. Campers, staff, and volunteers all had tears of joy on their faces when the Holy Eucharist in procession went by all of us, one by one. The campers then understood God’s love for us.
As one leader stated, “The campers came in as individuals and through the Holy Trinity left camp as family.” I am already packed for next year. This is an experience worth repeating for this old camper.