Pastor’s Keyboard: This week I’m away with the high school youth group at our 10th annual ski trip. I myself do not ski, or at least I have not tried since going on my first ski trip the year I was ordained. I received training from a ski instructor with about 30 to 50 other people. I could barely hear the instructor, so I never learned how to stop. Unlike everyone else, I made it up the bunny slope holding onto the rope. But I never learned how to stop! When I got to the top of a mountain, I faced down hill (always a mistake when on a mountain without the ability to stop), and I started to slide downhill. Faster and faster I went. Suddenly, I ran into a guy learning how to ski from a private instructor. My ski interlocked with his. We were now both heading full speed to a cliff. It took about four instructors to stop us. Needless to say, I do not plan on ever skiing again.
Even though I had a negative experience skiing years ago, I see how the youth group ski trip brings young people together who would not normally talk to each other and some who might rarely pray with other people outside of church. It reminds me of what Saint Pope John Paul II use to do with young college age adults. He would take them outside of the city into God’s creation and provide a chance for them to encounter Jesus in daily mass, Holy Hour, liturgy of the hours and fellowship.
This is the reason I take the youth on these trips, along with young adult helpers. On ski trips, and the Summer camping trip, we have had Catholics, Protestants, and even kids with no faith, describe how they encountered Christ in the Mass (even when they cannot receive Him), in adoration, in The Liturgy of the Hours, in the rosary and other devotions.
Many the youth and young adults who have gone on these trips in the past are now in Holy marriages, seminary, convents, and in college. They all have fond memories, friendships, and a deeper love of God and His creation.
Please pray for us, that all who attend this trip may encounter Jesus, and that they also come home in one piece with no broken bones!
Your Father and Brother in Christ,
Fr Scott Woods