Submitted by MARTIN ANGELES
AMHERST — Couples for Christ – Youth for Christ New Brunswick (CFC YFC NB) conducted a youth camp on October 19 to 21, 2018 at Between the Hearts Renewal Centre in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
There were 14 participants of the camp and all of them — nine from Saint John; four from Saint George and one from Moncton — made the active decision in committing themselves to become members of the CFC Youth for Christ. The weekend was a milestone for the growing community as it was the first youth camp in Atlantic Canada led and facilitated by homegrown, local members and youth leaders of CFC Youth for Christ New Brunswick.
The youth camp was made possible within a three month span of planning and training by Martin Angeles, the Atlantic Canada full-time pastoral worker and assisted by Romeo and Charina Jeminos, couple coordinators for CFC
The seed of the youth camp came from an earnest desire within the youth to “set afire” the hearts of young people for Christ in the province. Jericho Valle and Faith Sabino, both household heads for CFC YFC NB and team leaders for the youth camp prayerfully discerned and dubbed the camp ‘IGNITE’, anchored on St. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: “Fan into flame the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6).
Equipped with their talent, treasures, and much trust in God, the CFC Youth for Christ of New Brunswick patiently canvassed and visited parishes, communities, and schools all over the province every week leading up to the camp. They organized successful fund raisers within their parish to ease registration cost. Amidst balancing busy school schedules, they would set weekly meetings online to follow-up on each person’s assigned progress.
The service team was convinced that the success of the camp would also be heavily reliant on their own spiritual preparations. This meant a three-month fast of no junk food, and a common prayer time of 9pm for all members of the team, each using their own written prayer for the success of the camp.
Mr. Valle and Ms. Sabino immersed themselves in the manuals and talks in preparation for the camp. Youth for Christ’s 4F’s — faith, freedom, fun and fellowship — were the team’s guiding principles. Though the team was entirely new to the operations of a youth camp, it carried through with ease despite the challenges of time, logistics, and atmosphere.
The weekend marked a renewal in the participants to witness to the faith in a new light — through their talents and discovery of the gifts instilled within them by the Holy Spirit. The youth camp held Perpetual Adoration in the retreat centre’s chapel as well as the availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation ministered by Father Craig Christensen of Holy Family Parish, Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth.
It was in 2015 when a small team of volunteers from Couples for Christ Toronto made the 19-hour drive to St. George to form the first cell group of Couples for Christ in New Brunswick. This soon followed with the first youth camp attended by 10 participants, all of whom were present at the recent camp and are now currently leading the ministry of 43 active members all over the province.
“We are the spark that will IGNITE the flame of Christ in Atlantic Canada!” This was the weekend’s battlecry; a reminder that revitalization is indeed happening in the diocese.
Alongside their monthly assemblies, prayer meetings, and formation activities, CFC Youth for Christ New Brunswick is currently working towards establishing a high school club, as well as planning for two youth camps in 2019.§