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February 29, 2016 | Volume 91 Number 9

ARTICLES

Christian Awakening ties faith with real life

The Christian Awakening (CA) weekend, an event is intended for 11th and 12th graders, will be held the weekend of April 8-10 at Camp Bethel in Botetourt County.

Teens who attended the weekend in March 2015 helped build a closer knit Catholic community which encouraged them to stay in touch with one another through other youth programs such as Catholic Work Camp and the Diocesan Youth Convention.

Some readers may be thinking, “My child went to Discovery (a weekend retreat for younger teens) and has been confirmed since then. Why send them to Christian Awakening?”

One reason is timing. For some teens Christian Awakening clicks and for the first time they have a powerful personal encounter with Christ and feel the Holy Spirit moving in their life.

CA is designed to engage older teens who are getting ready to go off to college or that first job.

Listen to what teens at last year’s CA have to say.

“God definitely put you guys in my life for a reason,” said Liz Pineda of Sacred Heart, Danville. “I never knew that so many God-loving people would impact me so heavily.”

Emily Burek of St. Andrew’s, Roanoke, found out after the retreat that her grandfather had passed away that same weekend. The weekend experience gave her strength.

 “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for sharing your stories and showing me God’s unconditional love through your words and actions,” she wrote.

“I don’t think that I have ever felt a stronger presence of God in my life,” said Kate Keeley of Our Lady of Nazareth, Roanoke.

Blake Connell, now enrolled at UVA, wrote, “Small Christian communities reminiscent of the early disciples formed together over the weekend in the unity of Christ’s love and purpose.”

Ann Clare Levy, another UVA, student says of her Christian Awakening experience, “I’m still blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the participants, peer leaders, and adults, who within the course of a weekend form a close family bond that is only possible through God’s love.

“We laughed together, cried together, and grew closer to God together as we learned that everything is awesome when you’re part of God’s team.”

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