Being that I wasn’t able to visit CYFM during a retreat, I was invited to take part in their annual Capuchin Outreach Program. This is a service based retreat for high school aged students. I was asked to participate in the Vacation Bible School because this particular program had the most student volunteers and number of participants. There were about 40 kids, and 16 teens. Now, I had never been to VBS, or volunteered to help at one. And yet, I felt obligated to kind of know what was happening. After all, I was supposed to be the “Adult”, and at the same time I felt like I was to take a step back and really observe and try to understand CYFM as a whole. It was a bit conflicting.
We had survived the first day of VBS and successfully learned the choreography to “Stand Together” and “Stand Strong”. By the end of the day, I realized that the scripture sharing (which I was in charge of) would need to be altered for each age group. And I was exhausted. By the end of the day I had familiar feelings of loneliness and a sense of not being good enough set in. For as long as I can remember, these feelings follow a new day anywhere, even in Church settings.
But Tuesday was a new day. And it was better. And Wednesday came, and it was better. I had started to feel comfortable with the teens, and I had a better understanding of the needs of the kids at VBS. Water day was my favorite part of VBS, and I would say that this was my turning point, I had started to feel like myself again.
Thursday came, and we played messy games and had a talent show. I wrote my prayer partner letter and spent time in the beautiful chapel. And then friday came. We finished scripture sharing strong and VBS was over. The closing ceremony after mass started, and I found out that the chaplain of CYFM had been assigned to pray for me. This was a big piece of assurance for me from the Big Guy. By the end of the week I had a better sense of why I was put there, and a better sense of the community as a whole. This year is going to be an adjustment for me, and that is something that I can’t ignore anymore. But when I got home Friday night, I had a spiritual high, and Chris gave me an anniversary present.
This present was super appropriate, and he knew that. It was a St. Therese of Lisieux medal, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the back. St. Therese, being the patron of missionaries, even though she never left her convent, and the Sacred Heart, the devotion of Saint Leonard, my saint of the year. Also, I totally just noticed this, but Saint Leonard was a Franciscan who gave Parish retreats and who was an ascetic writer. That’s almost too similar to what I’m going to be doing this year.
If you want to read about COP from the perspective of a current CCV, you can do that Here.
Before I leave you today, here are some lovely pictures from the two chapels at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries, where I spent much of my alone time on the COP 2015 retreat.
Love and prayers,