Answering Some Questions from Teens Camp 2017
This year’s Teens Camp was a great opportunity for dozens of high school students to have fun, make new friends and also deepen their relationship with God, learn a bit more about their Faith and to be encouraged to be a witness of the Gospel in times when it can be challenging, difficult and discouraging. As part of the camp, there were opportunities for them to write questions and have them answered. Below are three of them which I have answered and shared in this article.
There are a number of reasons why we can feel nervous about Confession but something that can help is finding a priest that doesn’t know you, finding a priest that you feel comfortable to go to Confession to or even asking around who is a good priest to go to Confession. Something else that can help is finding a church where you can go to Confession behind a screen so that the priest can’t see you.
Sometimes we can feel nervous because we had a negative experience but keep in mind that, although it shouldn’t happen, priests can have “off”-days (like the rest of us) and may have said something that came across the wrong way. It may sound weird but priests can also be just as nervous in offering the sacrament. Finally, going to Confession regularly can help us become more used to it and make it less scary.
In terms of being nervous about going to Youth Group, a great way to get around it is to go with a friend and that often helps people feel more comfortable about being there. Alternatively, you can always speak with a Youth Group Leader or a priest of the Youth Group and they can help address any worries or anxieties you might have. Apart from that, you can speak to us at CYM and we can recommend a Youth Group for you as well.
To be more exact, the Bible says that sexual love is to be between a man and a woman who are married to each other. However, there are many other kinds of love such as the love between parents and children, between friends and the highest form of love which is when we make sacrifices for the good of other people (laying down our lives, as Jesus puts it). It’s a kind of love that we all need to live, married and unmarried, and a person’s sexuality does not affect their ability to love in this way, the highest form of love.
If a person who is gay or lesbian wants to follow Jesus as taught by the Catholic Church then we do accept them in the same way as anybody else who wants to follow Jesus in the same way. Even if people don’t want to follow Jesus, we still accept them as fellow human beings who are created and loved by God and respect their dignity; irrespective of their sexuality. There’s actually quite a number of resources you can look up from LifeTeen, The Third Way Youtube video and writers such as Daniel Mattson, Eve Tushnet and others who are openly gay/lesbian and are living and promoting what is taught about sexuality by the Catholic Church.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make new friends and taking on new interests or hobbies in order to do that. A problem can happen when we compromise on our morals, values or beliefs in order to become a part of a group. These are signs that the friendship we want may not be a good friendship. Friendships should help us become better people and friendships that make us worse are ones that we don’t need to have. A good friend is one that respects our beliefs, morals and values and doesn’t force us to lower them or threaten to reject us because of them.
This year’s Teens Camp Theme wasHeart of a Champion: ‘Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10) so may we never be afraid of the obstacles that we face in living our faith but encouraged in the belief that God is always there to help us and to give us strength and support.
Written by Fr Brennan Sia, CYM Chaplain