Diocesan Youth Sojourn Underway
August 26, 2006
MERCER, PA - A historic first in the diocese is presently
underway this weekend at Camp Nazareth. Organized and hosted by the Diocesan
Apostolate for Youth, the Youth Sojourn Retreat has attracted more than 50 of
our diocesan youth from across the diocese.
The Diocesan Apostolate for Youth was established by Metropolitan Nicholas to
meet the spiritual needs of our diocesan youth, providing guidance to their
pastors, parish workers and parents who are entrusted with their care. The
mission of the Diocesan Apostolate for youth is to evangelize our youth, and
encourage their active participation in the life of the Church.
The Youth Sojourn which began Friday evening and continues tommorow in
concert with the Annual Pilgrimage in Honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos,
marks the first visible outreach of the newly established Apostolate, in
addition to the publication of a youth oriented newsletter Daylight.
Thus far, judged by the enthusiastic participation of the youth and the
favorable feedback from the many parents who were also in attendance, the
Sojourn has exceeded the expectations of its organizers.
In particular, the youth, who were entrusted with the singing of the
responses to Vespers on Friday and Saturday Evening and Divine Liturgy on
Saturday morning, showed a great degree of spiritual maturity, and a keen
interest in the inner spiritual life of the Church. The singing of these
services was truly spirit filled and moving to the many adults in attendance,
for certainly their beautiful voices were mystically joined with the angels, who
continually sing the eternal Liturgy at the Throne of God in Heaven.
Following Vespers this evening, the young men and women attended camp fire
discussions on the vocation of men and women in the Church. Speaking at the
young women's campfire, were two female monastics from Holy Transfiguration
Monastery in nearby Ellwood City, PA. Frs. Kenneth Bachofsky, Mark Leasure and
Miles Zdinak, spoke to the young men regarding the vocation of the Holy
Priesthood. The discussions from the young men and women reflected a serious
desire on their part to be faithful to the Orthodox Christian understanding of
one's life being a sacred pilgrimage to the Kingdom of God .
The Youth Sojourn, while but a most humble beginning to a new and sacred
ministry in our diocese, should cause all within our God-saved diocese to
rejoice. We have learned that perhaps in the past we may have underestimated
the talents, abilities and keen interest of youth in the Orthodox Spiritual
Life. We pray that through the humble efforts of the Diocesan Apostolate for
Youth, the precious "little ones" that the Lord has entrusted to our care
may be inspired to grow in the Grace and Love of God.
Please watch our diocesan website within the next 48 hours for photogalleries
and further commentary on the Youth Sojourn.