|Backpacking at Lion’s Head by Georgian Bay.|
by Br. Nathan Wayne LC
ECYD Mission Corps
Most would say that
priests and parents handle the faith training of younger boys.
But this past summer, a team of high school-aged young men took on
this challenge as they entered the ECyD Mission Corps program.
Dressing up as Indians, giving virtue-based talks, putting on fun
sports activities, cleaning bathrooms, having fun with the campers and
leading by example where all part of their job description.
from France, Mexico, Spain, Toronto, and Oakville, the Mission Corps
team led two week-long summer camps under the guidance of
Br. Nathan Wayne, LC and Fr Thomas Murphy, LC.
essential to their success as they daily prayed morning and
night prayers, went to Mass, and prayed the rosary. They
attended the ECyD Mission Leader Convention and ran Camp Caribou
and the Catholic Sports Day Camp all in just one
month. During a week between camps, they relaxed with some
backpacking at Lion’s Head by Georgian Bay.
And they also left
a lasting example on the boys that they led.
Mission Leader Convention in Cornwall, Ontario
|ECyD young men clad in royal blue t-shirts overrun streets of Montreal.|
Braving the streets
of Montreal, the young men dressed in royal blue t-shirts
with a graphic cross on the back surprised many people
last July 2013.
“It is an uncommon site for most
people and especially a Quebecer to see a group of
guys asking people about the meaning of life, love, and
Christ,” said Br. Nathan Wayne, LC. “Even more shocking was
that they were having fun doing it. They danced with
families, cracked jokes with elderly people who were enjoying the
summer sun on a park bench, and snapped photos with
the local police and RCMP officers. One group even invited
a crowd of McDonald’s customers to come back to Church
by means of a security camera.”
Eighteen young men attended
the 2013 ECyD Mission Leader Convention in Cornwall, Ontario. With
Br. Nathan and Fr. Thomas Murphy, LC as chaplains, the
group played paintball, went cliff jumping at Charleston Lake, swam
in the St. Lawrence River, evangelized on the streets of
Montreal, and attended talks on Theology of the Body, prayer,
faith, and had open forum discussions.
They camp was a
great success and many are looking forward to next year’s
|Mentoring young men at Camp Caribou, in the footsteps of the North American missionary martyrs.|
Parents of the boys who attended the camp
said they appreciated the “spiritual content of the camp.”
one of the best camps that I have been to
that focuses on your religious and spiritual life,” said Victor
Palczewski. “You can just be yourself and look at your
life in a deeper perspective.”
Alexandra Gonzalez’s son Sebastian told her,
"This week at Camp Caribou changed me, mom…Jesus touched my
heart and I am now more connected to you.” She
said he is praying, reading Scripture because it is “a
really cool book” and sharing what he reads with his
“I sent a boy and received back a beautiful and
profound young man!” said Alexandra.
Camp Caribou in Cornwall, Ontario
than 300 years ago St. Isaac Jogues and the first
Jesuit missionaries came to Canada to bring the native people
to Christ. The North American wilderness was a harsh environment
and the people they met resisted learning about the faith
because of possible alienation from their neighbors.
This year, 25
boys entered this story. Camping on the side of the
St. Lawrence River, these boys walked along the banks of
the very river were Jogues was captured.
On opening night
of Camp Caribou, five counselors reenacted the capture of Jogues.
Covered in face paint and armed with sticks, they showed
how Jogues bravely showed himself to the armed Indians, rising
from his hiding place in the reeds. The boys spent
the rest of the week learning the story of Jacques
martyrdom while they competed for the saint survivor prize in
fishing, archery, and faith competitions. They also rode in go-karts
and paddled canoes near Mount Temblant.
Catholic Sports Day Camp in
|Getting competitive at the Catholic Sports Day Camp.|
Imagine experiencing the World Cup Soccer Finals, Game 7
of the NBA Finals, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup
Hockey Finals, and Game 7 of the MLB World Series
all on the same week.
This was the atmosphere of the
Catholic Sports Day, hosted for the first time at St.
Vincent’s Catholic Elementary School in Oakville, Ontario. Twenty five boys
attended the camp for a week. And it was much
more than just a week of drills and training with
some fun on the side. The boys attended daily Mass
with their families under the trees behind the school. Each
day they prayed the rosary as a team and had
a virtue video to start off the day. They learned
to have fun and at the same time to listen
to and become friends with God.
One camper commented he
would have liked to stay longer because he enjoyed his
experience so much.