Teenagers camp in Heiloo

Teenagers camp in HeilooFriday July 15th, midday. Slowly the convent is filled with laughing, chatting, joking teens who don’t find it very difficult to say goodbye to their parents who are there to drop them off. They look like they are ready for a few days of fun, but also for catechesis, the Holy Mass, and other serious moments.

Where did they all come from, these forty lively teenagers? From all the corners of the diocese—and a few from outside as well. Enthusiastic from participating last year, or from the monthly family days in Heiloo, or from their friends who had dragged them along.

Tiener-Kamp-SSVM-IVE-Bisdoom The organization of the camp is directed by the diocese in collaboration with the shrine of Our Lady of Ter Nood, thus, practically speaking, with the sisters. The other leaders are young people who we have known for a long time, whom we knew would create a nice familial atmosphere with the teens. The Spiritual leader is Father Mario Rojas IVE, who has come from Limburg especially for this camp.

The teens come from not only different cities and towns, but diverse backgrounds. True, most of them have a reasonable basis in the faith, which makes it possible to put more depth into the catechism. They are given a lot to digest, but they listen attentively— truly brave teenagers! Creation, original sin, our fallen nature, the reason for the Incarnation, sin, salvation, confession—all of these fundamental themes are coming into place. In the little practical talks before bed, Fr. Mario goes over the Eucharist and the importance of praying the three Hail Mary’s every day. Real life stories to illustrate this make all the teens sit and listen in dead silence.

Tiener-Kamp-SSVM-IVE-Bisdoom (1)On Sunday evening there is an evening of mercy, when the teens have an opportunity to confess. Five extra priests from the area come to help hear confessions. In the big church, all the teenagers enter through to Door of Mercy. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar. Peaceful music is playing in the background to make an atmosphere of reflection and prayer. Many teens approach the sacrament of confession for the first time. It is touching to see how happy they are afterward. We will hear later how some “advertise” this sacrament to their parents.

On Monday we separate the boys and girls and take them out for a real boys (or girls)-day out. For the girls, Elske Antonissen comes to speak about their true dignity as women, and how to guard and keep it in many practical ways such as wearing modest clothing. After this prelude, that stirs up many questions from the girls, we speed up the pace and heroically walk for an hour to our afternoon activity (luckily, halfway through we stop for ice cream!) We arrive at a horse farm where the girls can participate in various activities that are organized with the pony’s and horses.

Tiener-Kamp-SSVM-IVE-Bisdoom (1)

The boys receive their separate catechizes and afterwards leave for Egmond (a good two hour walk) for a demonstration by a rescue team and to build a fort on the beach. Thankfully we had arranged a ride home by car through the help of families we know.

The summer camp comes to an end on Tuesday with a catechesis from Monsignor Hendriks, our auxiliary bishop. The parents are also present at the Mass that he celebrates. After that we have a lunch together, and present photos, our team song and flags to the parents. For many it is difficult to say goodbye (for the teenagers and the leaders) but we hope to see many back for the family days or for the next camp.

Tiener-Kamp-SSVM-IVE-Bisdoom (1)

We thank God for all the grace we were able to receive on this summer camp! As Fr. Mario said: more teens in grace and more grace in every teen!

Sr. Iuxta Crucem, SSVM


Comments are closed.