PALESTINE – This summer, the Youth of Jesus’ Homeland (YJHP) organized summer camps based on age groups during a couple of days in Jabal al-Nijmeh. Each camp opened with a Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Bashar Fawadleh, spiritual guide of the youth, except for the third group whose Mass was presided over by Fr. Nadim Jaqaman.
- First group
The first group’s camp was entitled “Living an Adventure”, and saw the participation of about 80 boys and girls. The first day began with a welcoming speech by the Secretary-General of the youth, Mrs. Nadine Bitar Abu Sahliah, following the Mass. During four days, the participants were then able to enjoy many different activities: learning about the Bible and adoration of the Holy Eucharist, but also games, swimming, treasure hunts… On the third day, Fr. Johnny Bahbah celebrated Mass in the St. Joseph Church of Jifna. There were also several meetings: one with Ms. Christine Zahran about the impact of social networking sites, and one with Fr. Louis Salman about hope. The camp concluded with a Holy Mass, for the children to return to their families announcing to them what they had learned about the Gospel and hope.
- Second group
Entitled “Mile in the Desert”, this group had about 85 members. After the opening Holy Mass, the camp was officially launched. The program included a story by Mr. Faten Saeed, meetings with Sr. Anna Salwa (about holiness) and Fr. Bashar (about his vocation and life experience), a lecture by Mr. Bilal al-Ashkar about speaking up, various games and times of discussion, learning about theater with Rafi Ghattas, handicraft workshops, a competition about the Bible, a treasure hunt, and a time of adoration of the Holy Eucharist.
- Third group
This third camp was named “Yalla from Zero” and saw the participation of approximately 85 young men and women. The first day began with a Holy Mass, presided over by Fr. Nadim Jaqaman, who spoke about faith and the importance of preserving it in one’s life. After the Mass took place the elections of the new council members, who will represent the youth next year. Afterwards, the participants enjoyed a treasure hunt, games, Bible readings, a lecture by Fr. Remon Haddad about faith, meetings with social worker Mrs Rita Kahwagi (about self-belief), Fr. Nadim (about hope), Mrs Pauline Ghattas (about her life experience) and Mr. Bob Pauls (about love), and a moment of praying for Gaza. During the last day, the youth visited the headquarters of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and attended a Holy Mass presided over by Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, who announced new initiatives to better include the youth in parish life.
- Fourth group
55 youth were part of this group, which was named “Chapter of Love”. The opening Mass was followed by a lecture by Mr. Bob Paul about the relationship with God, and then an evening of prayer and hymns. During the following days, the participants attended lectures by various speakers, including Dr. Minerva Kassis (about the relationship with others), Mr. Moghanam Ghanam (about life as a Christian), and veterinarian Roger Salman, who spoke about the importance of nature and wildlife. Fr. Remon Hadded also spoke with the youth about the story of Job and then about social issues, and a workshop focusing on self-love was organized with Mr. Albert Hani. The youth was also able to enjoy plenty of games with Rafi Ghattas, as well as a talent show, and sports sessions with Professor Fadi Halawa. At the end of the camp, after the Holy Mass, there was a session of evaluation for all the participants.
- Fifth Group
This last camp was baptized “Without Borders”, and had about 60 young participants. The first day’s Holy Mass was followed by a game then an evening animated by Mr. Raed Awwad. The following days’ program included a lecture by Fr. Bashar about hope, a treasure hunt, prayers, tree planting in the parish of Birzeit, a Bible discussion with Fr. Issa Hijazeen, adoration of the Holy Eucharist, and meetings with Sister Ghada Nehme and others, on the occasion of the International Youth Day.