SASKATOON — A weeklong summer camp designed to help youth grow as disciples of Christ will be offered this summer in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
Emerge will be held Aug. 21 - 25 at the Blackstrap Youth Camp facility south of the city for campers going into Grade 8 or 9.
“Emerge will invite youth into a deeper personal relationship with Christ, and give them experiences of church community at an important time in their lives, when they are seeking who they are, who they are in Christ, and what they want to do with their lives,” says Colm Leyne, co-ordinator of Youth Ministry in the diocese.
Leyne adds that the Scripture theme chosen for Emerge — from 1 Peter 2:9 — reflects that vision: “For you are a chosen generation . . . of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
A team of older youth are preparing to lead the Emerge camp, and are already gathering regularly for enrichment, training and planning.
“These young leaders are also deepening their relationship with Christ and the church,” Leyne stresses. “They are deepening their confidence as leaders and are being equipped as the next generation of disciples, as world changers who will encounter Christ, grow in Christ, and bring Christ to the world.”
The vision for Emerge is to have youth register and attend in groups from parishes across the diocese, along with a youth leader or adult volunteer who will attend as a chaperone.
Group registration for Emerge will give local chaperones, parish leaders, volunteers or parents an opportunity to be energized and to deepen their faith walk as well, notes Leyne. It will also strengthen parish connections and local youth ministry.
“If even two or three youth from a small parish get together and enrol with a willing parent volunteer as chaperone, they will now have others to share this experience with, building connections in their local faith community around an unforgettable experience.”
Emerge will be an opportunity for youth and their leaders to have fun and to experience God and God’s creation in a safe, sacred and incarnational way, says Leyne. “The church is not called to stay in the basement, but to go out and evangelize all corners of the earth, including on the beach, in the forest, or under our prairie sky.”
Other youth ministry initiatives in the diocese include a Momentum youth rally for Grades 6 - 8 May 27 at E.D. Feehan High School, with the diocesan Youth Ministry Office working in collaboration with FacetoFace Ministries and Pure Witness Ministries, two local evangelizing groups.
Momentum will include talks, drama, and “epic games,” says Leyne. Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m., followed by a family supper and family dance.
In addition, Search weekends continue to be offered to youth ages 15 to 18 years, co-ordinated through the diocesan Youth Ministry Office. The next Search will be offered in the fall of 2017.
An intense weekend of spiritual growth that was revived in the diocese two years ago, Search challenges high-school-aged youth to deepen their relationship with Jesus and to make a conscious, adult commitment to their faith, explains Leyne,
Consisting of talks, music, prayer, spiritual direction, fellowship and sacraments, the live-in weekend encourages youth to “Search for Christian maturity.” Searchers come to know themselves, others, and God in a more loving and personal way.
Followup is important, Leyne adds, saying that team members stay connected with the Search participants.
“This is a mountain-top experience, but we’re not just going to just say ‘go back to the valley,’ ” he says. “There’ll be opportunities to connect, and to follow up, and also to serve as disciples, in parishes or beyond.”
Another new initiative in the diocese is Oremus, a prayer-centred evening for young adults (over 19 years) held on the fourth Friday of every month at the Queen of Peace Chapel in the Cathedral of the Holy Family.
“Oremus is a time to be still, pray and intercede for the needs of each other, our community and the world,” describes Leyne. Oremus also includes time for faith testimonies and some table-sharing, followed by social time of beer, wine, refreshments, cards and board games.
For more information about youth initiatives in the Diocese of Saskatoon, contact Leyne at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, (306) 659-5843.