Camp visit brings energy, hope - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Camp visit brings energy, hope

An in-season visit to Camp Stella Maris always charges my batteries. The whole camp community — directors, counselors and young campers — are so filled with joy and enthusiasm as to lead this visitor to forget his problems. Or, at least, to see them in a healthier perspective. I suspect other adults who visit the camp have the same reaction to the experience.

It rained on and off through the morning so we celebrated the eucharistic liturgy under shelter. The more than 300 people present filled the room to capacity. When the assembly prayed in song or in speech they filled the space with happy sound. To be a part of the celebration was a beautiful taste of what it can mean to be of one mind and one heart with sisters and brothers in the worshipping assembly.

The camp staff has the wonderful knack of preparing the children for their participation in the liturgy. I noted that the tiniest children there were no less engaged than were the girls and boys in their teens. It seemed to me that they brought out the very best in one another as they together praised and thanked the Lord.

In my homily with the campers on this feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr, I spoke about the importance of having heroes in our lives — not just saints like Lawrence but all individuals who teach us about life, who model genuine respect and care for others, and who are good to those in need. I was not thinking of it during the Mass, but I realized on the drive back to the office that over the years many young people have done all of those things for me by the way in which they live their lives. They did it again for me that morning.

If all of that were not enough, I had the bonus of lunch with five young women who are college students who work at Stella Maris during the summer. There were three named Liz, one Kat and one Katie. All are smart, personable, kind people who are splendid examples of the character and quality of the women and men to whom the parents of campers have entrusted the care of their children.

People like the campers and counselors make me think. They are signs of hope. Just by living their lives and being themselves they teach important lessons and offer much encouragement. Remembering them leads me to invite you to think about children, teens and young adults who offer similar gifts to you. It’s a great way to keep a lively awareness of how God speaks to us through those with whom we share the journey.

One final note of thanks to all at Camp Stella Maris, but especially to the kitchen staff. Did someone tip you off that tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is my all-time favorite lunch?

Peace to all.

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