July 11, 2021

June Apostolic Travels: FOCUS New Staff Training & Camp Wojtyla

Earlier this summer Sr. Marie Therese and I were blessed to attend the Fellowship of Catholic University’s Students (FOCUS) new staff training for its missionaries. Having been once before in 2019, it was wonderful both to see missionaries we had met previously and to meet many of the first and second year missionaries for the first time. Over two full weeks, we joined the missionaries for classes, group discussions, recreation times and meals. The training took place at Ave Maria University in Florida with young missionaries arriving from all over the United States. One of the biggest blessings was hearing their stories, stories that illustrate what God has done in each of their lives.

Our hope is that our presence at NST is a source of encouragement and support to the individual young people preparing to go out on college campuses to evangelize students. With so many obstacles present to the preaching of the Gospel in our world today, the missionaries are aware of the importance of prayer and sacrifice. It was humbling to be with so many men and women preparing spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally for the battle for souls on campuses. Please keep these young missionaries in your prayers!

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“I Have Come That They May Have Life, And Live It To The Full.”- Jn. 10:10

In the middle of June, our postulant Sister Madeline and I were given the great opportunity to travel to Colorado to participate in a week of activities at Camp Wojtyla. The camp is named after and takes as its patron, Pope Saint John Paul II, who loved ministering to youth in the beauty of creation, especially the mountains.   In this spirit, campers from all over the USA gather to encounter Christ in the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains.  All the camp’s activities, challenges and adventures are designed to lead the campers into deeper relationship with God, themselves, each other, and creation.  Ultimately, Camp Wojtyla strives to inspire and help the campers “live life to the Full” (John 10:10) by being “led and challenged through adventures in the wilderness into a joyful and transformative relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church” (Camp Wojtyla’s mission statement).  These adventures in the wilderness that Sister and I were able to experience provided an opportunity that was full of beauty, fun, and prayer. 

The beauty of God’s creation was amazing and the Rocky Mountains captivated us!  Each day we gazed on this beauty and recalled the words of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati: “Mountains, mountains, mountains, I love you.”  The week also never lacked in fun and activities, and each day the two of us joined these various adventures.  From hiking to fishing, archery to crafts, and bonfires with s’mores, “hobo burgers,” and root beer floats, we did it all!  Though these activities were always a blast, they didn’t simply stop at the fun.  Each one was an analogy for the spiritual life which the camp’s counselors and directors helped the campers understand.  As a camp, we also gathered together for prayer and the Celebration of Holy Mass.  In the Scriptures we hear of Jesus going up the mountain to be alone to pray.  At Camp Wojtyla, we were invited to be with Jesus atop the mountain where we encountered Him, spoke with Him, and received Him in Holy Communion.  Consequently, this intimate time with Jesus empowered us to live fully the fun and adventures of the day and to appreciate the beauty around us.  In other words, we experienced what Jesus tells us in the Gospel: “I have come that they may have life, and live it to the full” (John 10:10)! 

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