Mat-Su Catholic camp kindles spiritual fire amid winter chill

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Nearly 60 campers descended on St. Therese’s Camp in Wasilla for the fourth annual Glory Bound retreat Dec. 28-30.

The middle schoolers spent three days sledding, playing in the snow, warming themselves around a campfire, competing in ping-pong and carpet ball and taking in spiritual inspiration.

The program included dynamic talks by past summer counselors, including Jake Brownlee, who told the boys that through discipline, virtue and prayer, their masculinity can reflect God’s character.

Camp counselor Josefa Gonzalez spoke with the girls, telling them that social media and the opinions of others are poor sources of identity compared to the lasting peace that God offers them as his beloved daughters.

Counselor Lana Gonzalez told youth that prayer is really a matter of God first seeking his people — speaking to their heart. Fellow counselor Cristian Mendoza delivered the weekend’s last talk with an exhortation that life with Christ is a great adventure if only Catholics will follow him.

A number of counselors flew to Alaska (from as far as Washington, D.C., and Florida) at their own expense to participate in the camp.

“St. Therese’s has been blessed by God with wonderful counselors year after year,” said Rudy Poglitsh, director of St. Therese’s.

Quality camp counselors are a high priority for St. Therese’s, Poglitsh explained.

“We are deeply grateful to the Lord for sending such great young people every summer,” he added. “They evidence deep faith and the pursuit of holiness, and they invite the campers to a deep and joyful relationship with Christ by their lives and words.”

On the final night of Glory Bound Father, Robert Whitney, of St. Benedict Church in Anchorage, celebrated Mass for the entire camp, followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the sacrament of reconciliation. Father Whitney, who visits the camp frequently, is known for his “deep faith and fun-loving spirit,” Poglitsh said.

“Father Whitney, who was a student at Lumen Christi when I taught there in the late 1990s, delivers rousing homilies and inspires me and the campers with his reverence,” Poglitsh said. “At the same time, he gets as wet and messy as anyone in the summer Messy Wars. He’s a fantastic priest for the youth at St. Therese’s.”

Poglitsh encouraged Glory Bound campers to register for St. Therese’s 2019 summer camp at stthereseak.com.

For more information, call 232-2066 or send an email to campdirector@stthereseak.com.

'Mat-Su Catholic camp kindles spiritual fire amid winter chill'
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