International Missionary Youth Camp,
Lublin 17th - 24th August 2010
The second international missionary youth camp organised by the White Sisters and White Fathers of Poland took place from the 17th to the 23rd August 2010 in our beautiful Lublin house. 35 young people took part in this camp, the majority from different parts of Poland. 3 others came from abroad: (Julien from France, Faiza from Algeria, studying in France, and Josephine from Mali, studying in Germany). Fr. Hans Schrenk was the camp's spiritual advisor. Together with 2 other MAfr and 1 White Sister on holiday, as well as the 2 newly-ordained Polish confreres, the White Sisters and White Fathers of Lublin accompanied the youth in view of Mission and Vocation Promotion.
The aim was also to encourage the youth present to remain steadfast in their faith, to strengthen them in their experience of God, to exhort them to continue loving the Church and to encourage them to risk important decisions concerning their future. Above all, the camp was aimed at awakening in them the desire to serve God as missionaries in Africa. That is why the theme of the camp was 'Go out and preach the Gospel to all nations.'
This is the second time that we have organised a camp after having had a very positive experience with it last year. It was a challenge, because some young people who came last year returned this year. Hence, we had to use our imagination and take new initiatives. Thanks to a thorough preparation of the programme before the beginning of the camp and to the creativity of the organisers, the active participation of the youth and a well-balanced combination of activities, a spirit of harmony prevailed and nobody seemed to be bored at all.
On the first day, we started to build community spirit in practice by building huts in a traditional African style. Finally, 4 beautiful huts stood in our compound to the admiration of the passers-by. In this way, from the outset, we started to create mutual friendships. To enhance the team spirit and a lively participation, the youth were divided into 4 teams corresponding to 4 mountains in Africa: Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Atlas and Ruwenzori. It was an invitation to climb Africa's highest peaks; that is, to have some elementary knowledge about Africa and to appreciate the many priceless values of Africa.
We also visited various places in Lublin; amongst others, the White Sisters house, the Major Seminary (where our 2 seminarians study), the site of the former concentration camp and the Cathedral. The duration of the missionary camp was adequate and there was a variety of activities proposed - something for everyone. There was input and reflection in groups, Eucharist, adoration and Confession. We had various educative conferences about our Founder Cardinal Lavigerie, missionary vocation, Islam and the decision-making process, which were interesting for the youth. Group discussions, music, dancing and drama also enriched the participants of this camp. In addition to entertainment, there were also sports. There was also time for personal encounters among the youth themselves and also between them and the organisers. The youth appreciated the personal examples and testimonies of the Missionaries present. Delicious meals prepared by Mrs. Lucina and an African meal prepared by our Nigerian friend, Mr. Wisdom, were highly appreciated.
On Sunday, we had Mass at the local parish where the parishioners admired the lively African liturgy. In this way, the group had an opportunity to bear testimony to Mission at the parish.
We extend our thanks to Fr. Hans Schrenk, MAfr, who conducted the spiritual dimension of this camp in a humorous and story-telling manner. His vast and rich missionary experience and insights, as well as his positive evaluation of the camp were an encouragement to the youth present and to all of us who endeavour to promote missionary vocations.
It is worth noting that Lublin Television covered part of our camp live and this was an opportunity to make our mission here in Poland known. This will certainly motivate other young people to come next year.
In conclusion, we thank God who enabled us to have this beautiful experience with the youth. 4 young people present at the camp have shown interest in becoming Missionaries and this is in itself a reason for gratitude to God for the fruitfulness of this missionary camp. Everybody was enriched, new bonds of friendship were created and the youth asked for this experience to be repeated next year.
Presented by Sr. Cecylia Bachalska, Msola and Fr. Otto Katto, MAfr.
See last year