(Ideas borrowed from Catholic Youth Summer Camp in Centerburg, Ohio with permission)
Pre-Camp Blessing of the Campers
It would be great if the parish priest could have the youth who are going to attend camp to all come to the same Mass and stand up at some point for a blessing or you can do this at youth group before camp. The below blessing can be shorten to fit your time frame.
Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Priest: May God, our strength and salvation, be with you all.
All: And with your spirit
Priest: Brothers and sisters, as we set out on this trip to Catholic Youth Summer Camp, we should remind ourselves of the reasons for our resolve to go. While the high adventure activities allow us to embrace the resurrected joy of our Christian faith, we recognize that in this trip we will be given the opportunity to encounter the living God in a new way. Be attentive to the words Christ wishes to speak to you this year at camp, and be attentive to the ways he is calling you to change, the ways he is calling you to live your faith more vibrantly for the sake of his kingdom.
READING OF THE WORD OF GOD
A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew: (Matt. 4:18-22)
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Priest: God is the beginning and the end of life’s pilgrimage. Let us call on him with confidence, saying: Lord, be the companion of our journey.
Reader: Father all-holy, of old you made yourself the guide and the way for your people as they wandered in the desert; be our protection as we begin this journey, so that we may return home again in safety. (For this we pray:) R.
Reader: You have given us your only Son to be our way to you; make us follow him faithfully and unswervingly. (For this we pray:) R.
Reader: You gave us Mary as the image and model for following Christ; grant that through her example we may live a new life. (For this we pray:) R.
Reader: You guide your pilgrim Church on earth through the Holy Spirit; may we seek you in all things and walk always in the way of your commandments. (For this we pray:) R.
Reader: You lead us along right and peaceful paths; grant that we may one day see you face to face in heaven. (For this we pray:) R.
PRAYER OF BLESSING
All-powerful God, you always show mercy toward those who love you and you are never far away for those who seek you. Remain with your servants on this holy trip to Catholic Youth Summer Camp and guide their way in accord with your will. Awaken in them a sincere desire to love and serve you and the holy Catholic Church more fully. Shelter them with your protection by day, give them the light of your grace by night, and, as their companion on the journey, bring them to their destination in safety.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Priest: May the Lord guide us and direct our journey in safety.
Priest: May the Lord be our companion along the way.
Priest: May the Lord grant that the journey we begin, relying on him, will end happily through his protection.
Collecting Prayer Support
There is a unique opportunity to help the parents of campers become more involved in praying for the campers from your parish or school. Below are a number of ways to involve parents in prayer during the week of camp.
Option 1 – Pray for a Day:
Make a list of the days that campers from your parish and school will be at camp and find one family for each day that will be dedicated to prayer and fasting for the campers from your parish or school. If you have a large number of campers, you may want to have two or three families each taking one day.
Option 2 – 6 Hours that will change lives:
Arrange with the parish priest to offer one holy hour each day while the campers from your parish or school are at camp. You could have 6 days of consecutive holy hours that you ask all the parents to at least come to one. Night after night, parents gather in prayer before the blessed sacrament to pray for the deeper conversion of your parish and school and the campers present at camp.
Option 3 – Mary’s Mantel:
Another option is to email the parents of all the campers and ask that they take time to pray the Rosary every day while the parish/school children are at camp. The more parents offering Rosaries up each day, the more grace will abound!
Option 4 – Spiritually Adopt A Camper:
Post on a parish/school bulletin board the names of the youth attending camp and the days they will be at camp. Ask parishioners to each take a name and pray for that child while they are at camp. You may want to post multiple names of the campers so that more than one parishioner can spiritually adopt a camper. The nice thing about this is that you are including the whole parish community in this prayer effort and not just the parents.