Last night the sky was amazingly beautiful here at Camp Koinonia. There was no moon in the sky and so the stars and the Milky Way were especially brilliant.
The parents were socializing at the Camp Store and the teens and young adults were star gazing. The teens were having some good conversations. I sat with a couple of the young adults, and we talked of life and purpose and faith. It was a night to inspire important conversations.
This morning I am sitting by the edge of the field with a mist lingering over the lower part of the Camp. Everything is light, but still shadowed by the tree covered hills that obstruct the sun until it is a bit higher in the sky. The Camp is not yet fully awake, but I have heard a few doors opening and closing. Parents will be coming to the lodge for coffee soon and children will be heading to the hour of “polar bear swim” at the pool. This early morning calm is a perfect time to reflect on what this week is all about.
This year’s theme for Catholic Family Camp is Koinonia of the Saints; Koinonia meaning “community”. So, we have been pondering together what the Communion of Saints means to us.
The Communion of Saints teaches us to long for our eternal life with God. O Lord I want to be in their number when the saints go marching in. The Communion of Saints speaks to us about the love of God that is ours in time and for eternity. We have a life to live here and, even as we love and serve in this life, we long for the day when Jesus’ promises are fulfilled. O Lord, I want to be in their number when the saints go marching in.
The Koinonia of Saints encourages us with the example of the saints and with their unfailing help. We were introduced to two or three saints each day. Some ancient and some more recent. We are supported by the example and prayers of the saints who are famous and our loved ones who are saints and known only to us.
We talked about the Liturgy of Heaven in which the angels and saints praise and worship God eternally. Our liturgy, our Mass, joins in with their liturgy and we are united with the worship of the saints. This becomes real at every Mass when we “join our voices with theirs as we acclaim, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts.” The Mass creates and strengthens the Koinonia of Saints as Jesus is present to those in heaven and present to us in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
The families gathered here this week are amazing. Within the Koinonia of Saints, a Koinonia of families has formed here in this valley. For parents to see their children openly expressing their faith must be a tremendous moment of pride and delight. One of the couples had an anniversary and renewed their wedding vows during Mass and their children looked on with wonder and joy. There are so many moments which strengthen relationships and build the families. It is a powerful week of God’s grace and love.
I came to Catholic Family Camp for the first time about twenty years ago. I came for a day to preside at Mass and I stayed for Square Dancing. I was hooked. I did the same the next year and then began coming for a full week every summer as a Chaplain.
The four new families here this week are hooked by the Spirit of this Camp. All the families have been supported and strengthened. Every year I am buoyed and affirmed in my life as a Priest. This place is a joy. As some say, the barrier between heaven and earth is especially thin here and miracles happen.
This morning has been a miracle for me. A time to commune with God, in this awesome setting, among the Koinonia of Saints, and in anticipation of another grace-filled day.
I hope this reflection either stirs up hopes that you and your family might join Catholic Family Camp next summer or has stirred up memories of your time among the Saints at Camp Koinonia.
May the Grace of God the Father and of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and yours.