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A place where fun and faith merge


By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Aug. 30, 2017

Recent popes have reminded us that parishes are to be schools of prayer.  Why?  Every person is called to be Guggenheimholy, a saint.  That can only happen when we develop an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer.
Prayer is all about an encounter.  Our prayer life deepens as life experiences impact our encounter with Jesus and we respond to His call: “Follow Me.”   

Our Diocesan Priority of Creating a Culture of Vocations helps us realize that, through our baptism, each of us is charged with the mission of discipleship, to follow Jesus in a particular way in our life journey.

The graces we receive from this sacrament provides us with the divine assistance we need for our prayer life to grow and our discipleship to be strengthened.  

As schools of prayer, our parishes provide the supportive setting where we can learn how to pray and worship God personally and as a community of faith. 

A highlight of my episcopal ministry is my summer visits to our diocesan family’s beautiful setting where training in holiness is the fruit of fun activities at Camp Guggenheim.

The parents in our parishes are especially alert to their responsibility to help form their children as Catholic Christians.  The vocation of a parent can be especially challenging in today’s world.  It’s so important that our parish families support our parents’ efforts in the Christian formation of our youth. 

That’s why it is a special blessing that our local Church is able to offer our youth an experience that supports our parents’ efforts in facilitating their children’s growth in prayer and discipleship.  The camp experience is truly Christ-led, Christ-fed, and Hope-filled.

Our diocesan summer camp, tucked in the picturesque Adirondacks, is a place where fun and faith merge in a family-like setting.  This life experience for our young campers facilitates and impacts their encounter with Jesus in a fun-filled, supportive environment.   Their lives are never the same after summer camp at Guggenheim. 

Just ask them!

In my visits to Guggenheim (Summer Camp and Family Guggenheim), I continue to be inspired by the prayer and praise of God that permeates the camp.  Dancing, rappelling a cliff, hiking, preparing for and celebrating Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, participating in the Sacrament of Penance, swimming, performing in talent shows are just a part of the summer camp experience. 

In the middle of it all is Jesus Christ.  The stories that the young campers tell, the smiles on their faces, their eagerness to return next year--all reflect the enthusiasm and joy of a week-long prayer experience. For generations, training in holiness has been the hallmark of Guggenheim. 

We are grateful to the staff, clergy, religious, parents and parishioners who so generously support our diocesan camp. 

We continue to work diligently to ensure that the mountain experience remains with our campers long after the season is ended. 

The story of our encounters with Jesus is a love story to be told and to be lived.  We thank God that our youth themselves can become schools of prayer because of the profound impact of the Guggenheim experience on their encounter with Jesus.  They have been well-trained in holiness.

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