To the editor:
To anyone with doubt about the future of our church, I invite you to staff or attend a Diocesan Youth Retreat! I had the pleasure of cooking for the young on retreat the weekend of Palm Sunday at Camp Long Point on Seneca Lake and it was a wonderful experience. Adult and peer leaders, retreatants and staff were filled with a spirit of faith, forgiveness and a deep respect for the role of each in guiding decisions in life.
I had attended my first Youth Retreat in February of this year at Camp Stella Maris in Livonia. I went to see what my teenage son was so enthusiastically interested in and hoping for positive opportunities for all my home-schooled children. In a culture so increasingly critical of our church, I worry sometimes what will be available to strengthen my children’s faith as they come of age. In my employment as an advocate for children in the courts, I sometimes despair of what hope there is for children. The Youth of the Diocese at both retreats rejuvenated and restored me. These young folks come together for a sharing of faith, friendship, music, good food and lots of fun — all appropriately supervised by responsible adults of course! What a blessing to us all.
My fellow Catholics, the children are our church, here and now. It is our humble duty to serve and nourish them on the spiritual journey. And truly, it is in giving that we receive. I pray we all will work to continue to support the extraordinary youth of our Diocese and the Retreat experiences!