Each summer, I give the camp staff a goal. Two years ago, they were challenged to make camp all about the campers. Last summer, the goal was to keep God at the center of the camp. And this summer, I extended our goal to the campers as well. Our goal? A heartfelt Mass.
The Mass is a beautifully unique prayer, our perfect offering to God each week. But the Mass can be difficult to appreciate, something we take for granted because (ideally) we celebrate it every Sunday. To make the Mass truly heartfelt, we have a difficult challenge. The Mass should simultaneously be a type of meditative prayer (similar to the Rosary) that we do allowing us to pray without an intensely high level of focus as well as being a prayer that we are incredibly focused on. We should be actively thinking about each word we say as a congregation, each motion we make, and truly participate consciously while still allowing our hearts to simply pray in the peace of our own souls.
As the campers learn about the Mass in their religious formation classes, they are also getting to take their deeper understanding of the Mass and apply it. Their Creed they have memorized since they were old enough is explained with Scripture, they make their own Eucharistic bread, helping them to better understand that the hosts they receive are truly food, made of flour and water. Our young Catholic campers are learning to see their Mass as more than a requirement each Sunday, but as a beautiful celebration that combines Scripture and Communion into a community meal that honors the ultimate sacrifice. A heartfelt celebration of their salvation.