Sunday, July 2, 2017

"He must increase, I must decrease"--Highlights of Girls Camp 2017

What a blessing! God's providence was so manifest during Girls Camp, June 22-26, here at the monastery. Rain may have "messed up" the schedule and flooded the tents, but the Holy Spirit was clearly pouring out upon the girls and us!

A record number of teen girls (30) traveled from seven different states (Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia) for the camp, sponsored by the Eparchy of Parma Office of Vocations. The girls listened to talks on the theme, "He must increase, I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30), engaged in small group discussions, spent time in quiet reflection, participated in the Mystery of Holy Repentance, prayed many of the daily liturgical services of the Church with us, and enjoyed other activities, such as a "nun obstacle course!"

A unique event during this year's camp was a trip to our cathedral in Parma on our eparchy's patronal feast (the Nativity of St. John the Baptist) for the ordination of Fr. Cyril Pinchak to the priesthood. In God's beautiful providence, the day before the ordination, Fr. Cyril unexpectedly walked in the door of the monastery just as we were about to tell the girls about him and what they would experience at the ordination! Fr. Cyril did a much better job than we would have, and the girls were able to meet him in person.

Girls Camp began in 2009 and is meant to catechize teen girls about the various vocations in the Church and to help them encounter God in a deeper way and to grow in their relationship with Him. It seems that the the purpose of the camp is truly being fulfilled, by God's grace. We are so overwhelmed by all of the graces that He poured out during the camp, that we want to share some of them through the words of a few of the girls:

"I felt a great sense of peace and joy that I had never felt before in my entire life" (Isabella Way; Tucson, Ariz.).

"[Girls Camp] deepened [my relationship with Jesus Christ] a lot. I feel like now I can just talk to Him, as if I was talking to a friend" (Bella Popp; Cleveland, Ohio).

"I feel closer to Him in everything I do now and like I can talk freely to Him about anything. It's just really amazing!" (Maria Hartung; Springfield, Ohio).

"[Girls Camp] made [my relationship with Jesus Christ] stronger and 'surfaced' it. I've always sort of known that God was there but I just started realizing that He was there for me" (Dominica Lupia; Seven Hills, Ohio).

"I have received so many special graces these past few days" (Anonymous).

"It feels as if a door was opened for me to walk through and experience Jesus in a more raw and pure way" (Anonymous).

"[My favorite part was] meeting all of the nuns, seeing how happy they are, loving, and just feeling the love of God radiate off them; [also,] all the talks leading back to Jesus. [Girls Camp] reminded me that Jesus is really all I need in life, the only thing that can fill my heart" (Eva Mangels; Tucson, Ariz.).

Enjoy more photos from the camp!