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Fr. Matt
Site Owner
Posts: 382

Our family goes to camp a lot during the summer. What should we do when we’re not around to go to church on weekends?

August 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Fr. Matt
Site Owner
Posts: 382

          Here’s one that I was asked by several young people on our Steubenville North youth conference, and since so many have asked this very timely question, and since I haven’t received any written questions recently, I’ll give a little reply here. To all who have asked (and to those who have only wondered), thanks for such a great question!

          Let me begin by saying what a wonderful thing it is to go to camp (especially as a family) in the summer months. While that may look different for different families, I think it’s safe to say that for most (if not all), it involves 3 important (and Holy!) values. First, ‘going to camp’ represents family time. God gave us our families (for a good reason), and it’s good to spend time together. Second, ‘going to camp’ represents time away from ordinary life at home/school/work – that is, it’s a retreat of sorts – a combination of resting and recreating like Jesus who often sought the solitude of a mountain or a wilderness to get away from the crowds (whom He truly loved) in order to just be with His Father. Third, going to camp represents a sort of getting in touch with God the creator, and intentionally being a part of His creation.

          Whatever ‘going to camp with my family’ means for any particular individual, I would be willing to bet that it has to do with each of these wonderful values in one degree or another. That’s why I think it’s great for families to go to camp together. I highly recommend and encourage it. Here’s the thing, though.

          At least in the part of the world in which I live and serve (Northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan), it’s virtually impossible to be in a ‘camp’ anywhere – along the lakes and streams and in the abundant forests – which is more than 20 minutes from a Catholic Church. Yes, if you have access to a motor vehicle, you have relatively easy access to a Catholic Church. A quick internet search of the Green Bay or Marquette (or other diocese) will reveal this fact.

          Now, I know that at camp, the one thing we don’t want to do is have to be on some sort of schedule. Believe me; I (perhaps more than anyone else I know) appreciate this! And I know that one can have a ‘religious experience’ in a lounger or a fishing boat. However, if the God Who created all this wonderfulness has sacrificed His very life (Body and Blood) for us; and if this same God has chosen to come and be present with us precisely in the Mass; and if this same God has not only invited, but commanded us to be present when He comes … well, if all that (and so much more) is true (which it is), then is a little inconvenience or even a little intrusion into our ‘time at camp’ too much to ask? Could it possibly be the case that going to Mass can’t count as family time? If so, well, I wonder how we got to this point? Just a little food for thought …

          I’m sure there are other insights into this question, so, as always, if you have further questions or another way of looking at this question, please log on to www.stanthonyniagara.org in the “Ask Father” section of the forums to share your thoughts, and thanks for asking! Until next week, may God bless you and your loved ones!



Fr. Matt

August 5, 2014 at 5:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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