Vacation With God
For several years now, the Redemptorists of the parish of St. John Paul II in Perth Amboy, New Jersey organize “Vacation with God” – a weekly retreat for children, young adults and even entire families. Families and children are invited annually each summer, regardless of their age.
This was my 12th time attending “Vacation with God”, and it was the 13th time for the camp. I truly believe that this camp is a chance to get away from the real world, and free your heart and mind towards God. Away from the noise of the city, technology, and the constant rushing around, there was time for the formation of new friendships, shared fun, and prayer.
“Vacation with God 2015” takes place in many different locations, but this year it took place in the village of Silver Bay by beautiful Lake George. The camp lasts one week, and this time it was from June 28 to July 4. If “Vacation with God” were to run for 2 weeks, I would most certainly attend. It was such a great time and a brilliant way to kick off the summer.
The participants had the opportunity to experience something special. It was a place for hiking, fun and a prayer, listening to guest speakers, such as nuns and priests, talk about their lives and share their experiences and thoughts with us, taking trips down to the lake and going for a swim, having campfires as one family, getting a chance to dance to some music, or just getting to meet some magnificent faces. Each day had a similar program: morning prayer, breakfast, meeting in groups, free time (which participants dedicated to organizing their rooms, spend time playing outdoors, or simply spending time with some friends), Mass (the most important point of each day), then lunch, going down to the lake for a swim, trips to the mountains, and something was always planned for the evening. Whether it was a type of play, or a talent show, a movie night where we watched “God’s Not Dead”, or even one night we did the Stations of the Cross and Adoration, everyone always sat with such a big smile on their face, or in their hearts.
This year the theme of our camp was “Vocation or Calling from God”. A new thing that was added on recently was the visitation of the nuns and priests. They talked about what their calling to God was, and what path they were chosen to take. They talked about how their lives were different than ours, how they don’t have everything that we have today. They are able to live their lives with not much, but still find happiness. It was wonderful to just sit back and listen to what their life is like, what they were called to do. I’m still not sure what my calling to God is, but I know that from listening to these wonderful people and going to this wonderful camp, that soon it will be known to me, and I know it will be very special.
We were able to all become this one big family, with God by our side. If I had a chance to go back at any second, I would. I believe that this camp really does bring people together by the faith of God. Even through prayer, we are all able to have such an amazing time together, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I know now that “Vacation with God” is something that I would like to attend my whole life; meeting new faces and spending time with God through the process.
By Marta Pawka