Scripture tells us to put our HOPE in God. HOPE was the theme at this year’s Hastings Youth Group summer camp and the lead up to it. Initially scheduled at El Rancho, Waikanae in mid-2021, the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions meant cancellation of both the camp and our weekly youth gatherings for the rest of the year.
However, we were able to re-arrange our weekend retreat in January at the Tukituki Christian Camp just 20 minutes from our church in Hastings. Within a short timeframe parishioners and families helped organise activities and gather resources and supplies to make the camp happen.
The camp was a wonderful opportunity for leaders and participants to strengthen their faith and relationships with each other, learn from one another, and to experience Jesus Christ as HOPE in everything we do. Our weekend retreat began with Mass attended by 30 teenagers and 20 young adults. The activities included a ‘Hopeful Warrior’ challenge, which put Hope in God while completing an 11km walk. We also joined the Filipino community celebrating 500 years of Christianity in their country, with Fr Bernard Espiritu svd, MISSIO-NZ National Director, who celebrated Mass.
Our retreat concluded with Sunday Mass and lunch, joined by some of the parents.
We offer our sincere thanks to all who supported us with prayers, fundraising, planning, activities, resources, transportation, sponsorship and more. Our heartfelt thanks also to Fr Trung and the youth team. And our thanks for the opportunity to live out Fr Bernard’s homily message as being ‘Gifted To Give’.
Covid restrictions and government guidelines posed many obstacles. But we believed in and relied on the Holy Spirit, and that faith made things happen for us all. May we all continue to live out the theme of HOPE this year and keep sharing our gifts with our parish.