Teens in triple digits, faith, fun, mark Arizona’s first Youth Fest

(courtesy photo)

It was family camping of a different kind but proved successful.

The “parents” were spiritual fathers and religious sisters with motherly wisdom. The kids: more than 100 high school teenagers from Phoenix’s Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Anthony parishes and others across Arizona.

All of them joyfully filled Camp Geronimo in Payson July 24-28 for the first youth festival sponsored by the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word. Some 27 religious members spent the week sharing catechetical talks with teens motivating them to live their Catholic faith in today’s modern world. They also taught the teens — mostly in English, but some in Spanish — how to benefit more from Eucharistic Adoration, prayer and the sacraments of Holy Communion and Reconciliation. The festival featured daily Mass and adoration too.

It wasn’t all theological. The agenda also featured a half-day hike into the mountains, outdoor sports, card games and campfire activities. The Religious Family of the Incarnate Word hopes to offer other youth festivals in Arizona in the future.