KAMALO, Sierra Leone, West Africa—For two days, from August 5 to 6, 2016, the St. Paul the Apostle Parish hosted its annual Parish Youth Camp as propitious venue of handing out special formation programs to the youth sector of the local church. The theme was “Come and Let’s Answer Papa God’s Call.”
“The participants may just be few, mostly youngsters, but nevertheless it did not defeat the purpose of forming the young to grow more in their faith,” commented Fray Dennis Castillo, OAR, parish priest and over-all chair of the program.
The 6:00 AM holy mass at the parish church signaled the opening of the two-day activity. Registration and breakfast followed. At 9:00-10:30 AM, the participants listened to the talk, “God’s call and my true purpose.” After a 30-minute break, the second talk, “Vocation and Prayer” with special emphasis on the Augustinian Recollect way of praying was introduced.
Lunch at 1:00 PM, and at 2:30 PM, they watched the movie, “Jesus of Nazareth” in Temne language. The crucial processing after the film showing, pointing out “what was my favorite part,” was handled by the team in-charge. And it served as an excellent appetizer to the next activity: theatre arts and group presentation. To wrap up the first day, they prayed the holy rosary, then, took their dinner.
The second day also began with the usual morning mass at 6:00 AM. Again, the participants who were as active and vibrant as in the first day returned. They all helped in the cleaning of the surroundings and the session hall. They took breakfast at 8:00 AM, and, then, later, prayed together the holy rosary. A two-hour orientation on the “Youth Night” was given so as to ensure a smooth flow of the numbers.
The rest of the morning up to 3:00 PM was intended for practices and/or rehearsals. After which, they readied themselves for the last talk on “Personal Hygiene and Malaria” given by Ms. Ma. Estrella Hernandez, a Filipina nurse based in Sierra Leone.
At 6:00 PM, everybody was at the parish church for the holy hour and confession. Then, after dinner, the culminating activity—the Youth Night—saw them enjoying the showcase of their homegrown talents.
It was a great success, no doubt! “From their own poverty, the 32 participants shelled out some amount to partly realize this youth camp,” disclosed Fray Dennis. “And we are also grateful to those generous visitors who shared their talents, their faith, and their resources,” he added.
At the end of the day, everyone believed the youth camp was an investment: a way of engaging the young to build a stronger faith in Jesus and to widen their horizon for a brighter future by developing their potentials, and to never stop dreaming.