在入營前老婆在網上看過些Focolare的資料﹐有些網頁說這個組織是Cult﹐利用高壓洗腦方式傳教招攬成 。群居成員要共享財產﹐也有騙財或共產主義之嫌。這個營在Trinity Western University舉行﹐大學趁學生放暑假﹐把宿舍和演講廳出租給不同團體搞活動賺外快﹐退修營在正當地方舉辨讓我們放心不少。營友有不同族裔背景﹐來自不同溫哥華的天主教會﹐也有些人從阿省﹐沙省或西雅圖專程過來﹐全部人都很友善很正常。他們大慨比一般主流天主教徒熱情﹐但不至於去到華人小教堂基督教徒的地步。營友一家大細來參加的居多﹐也有些是未結婚還未生仔的Focolare第二代。像我們白撞去參加的人很少﹐因為Mariapolis從不在教會宣傳﹐只靠朋友間的口碑一個傳一個。加拿大西岸的姑婆屋有四個姑婆﹐兩個教師一個社工一個做醫院﹐看上去不似嫁不出才要做姑婆﹐不說出來還以為是普通的中女熟女剩女。可能她們真的有做修女以外的特別聖召﹐才參加Focolare發誓獨身事奉主。
At first, I didn’t expect myself to be coming to WCCCLC, now that I am married. However, it’s my wife who got me to come here. This year, instead of sleeping in the bunk beds with the other “kids”, my wife and I shared a room all by ourselves. If you ask me, though, I would actually prefer to live together with the rest of the camper; I don’t really mind the noise from the younger roommates who decide to chat overnight, nor do I mind the snoring from other people. It’s just that the room we had was situated at the basement of the dining hall – our room had no windows, only a small fan to keep the air circulated in the room. The stuffiness just made it uncomfortable for me. Moreover, it was way colder than any other years at this camp site, so despite wrapping myself in my sleeping bag, the coldness woke me up many times during the night. It seemed that I haven’t slept at all the next day. If I knew I wouldn’t get some good rest, I would rather stay up late and talk and play with the “kids” – if they don’t mind this uncle.
“There was a lot going on in my life lately – I just came back a few weeks ago from a business trip in India, and then had to stress out on the renovations of our new place. Not having a good rest in camp meant that I was constantly tired, and didn’t get the chance to truly do some self reflections. I would grab every opportunity for a quick nap: I could actually fall asleep in mass, even when I was kneeling; I could even found myself dozing off during praise and worship – while standing up. During eucharistic adoration, with the aid of some really soft music, I even slept laying on the ground! There were even times when I would snore out right, so Patricia would have to slap me awake so not to disturb the other campers. I was also half-dozing in all three Father’s Talks. This year’s speaker was Fr. Joseph Chan, who was the speaker for WCCCLC 2003. At that time he just became ordained, so I thought his talks then were a little on the inexperienced side. This year although I wasn’t paying full attention to his talks, I could feel that his talks were much more practical and fulfilling then those six years ago; maybe that’s what life experience would do to a person. All of Fr. Chan’s talks revolve around this year’s theme – “Dared to be a Witness of Love” – I couldn’t remember much from what he said, so maybe I will try asking if anyone had recorded the talks and could lend the recordings to me.
“This year’s organizers are brand new, even from a new generation. Those who helped organize the camp in the past had taken steps away – probably because they were too busy with their kids. The camp itself was geared towards younger campers, with activities that are more suitable for them. Gone were those long boring sessions of spiritual activities, and instead of having two nights of praying and meditation, they were compacted into one night. In the past, whenever there were slots of buffer time between programs, there would be praise and worship sessions, which I thought campers were just bombarded with loud music. This year, there were half-hour periods where campers could rest or just hangout with friends. In addition, the small group activities were really meaningful, one of which was the activity on Saturday morning when we had to build a house together. At first, we were presented with a list of 14 different craft supplies, and each group needed to decide on 7 that they would like to use for the house. What was really neat was that, when the groups went to claim their supplies, they were in turn given the other 7 that they had NOT chosen. The whole point of the activity was that a lot of the time God’s plans for us aren’t necessarily the plans that we have set for ourselves. At the end, everyone took the materials that they originally rejected, and with creativity and teamwork in the air, we actually built houses that I think would not be worse then if we had use the supplies that we ordered. After the activity, there were some group sharing, and I was a little bit touched that everyone had similar experiences.
“My favourite program in the camp is the Q&A session by Fr. Chan. Rather than talking about deep, philosophical issues about love and faith with the teens, why not discuss with them about issues that are practical to their lives? These issues revolved around swearing, cheating, gossiping, gay marriages, cohabitation, and pre-marital sex. Through video clips (filmed by the planning team, which were pretty hilarious), the campers got to expressed their views. I really felt that the questions asked by them were pretty difficult to answer. On one hand, people need to understand where the Church stands, and on the other hand, we didn’t want campers to feel that they were just being presented with rules after rules. However, Fr. Chan made the balance just right: not only did he present to the youths the correct views of the Church, but he did it in a funny way that made it easier to swallow, and the entire atmosphere was extremely relaxing. What I truly love in this activity was that Fr. Chan wasn’t talking down to us at all; he didn’t tell us that this is sinning and that is sinning. Instead, he taught us in detail why doing certain things may not be right, and that there are other moral issues within the bigger issues that the Church is more concerned with. It’s clear that not every camper would agree with everything Father said (me being one of them), but at least they now have another way of thinking about how to solve the problems that they may have. Although Fr. Chan was able to answer most questions, there were some that deemed too difficult, so he just made a joke out of it and let it go. One of them was this, ‘If you have a friend who decided to have surgery to change his gender, what should you do as a Catholic?’ To which he just answered, ‘Don’t follow suit!’
“There was a sharing session on Sunday night, and we invited a few guests to share their personal witness stories. Usually, we would have this program item outside around a camp fire, but this year it was raining, so we had to do it inside. I guess since it would be near impossible for the younger campers to sit for a long time just listening to somebody talk, the Core Team decided to add a new element to it, which was to embed the sharing session inside a concert gimmick. The lights were turned off, and every camper received a glo-stick. With some fast-paced songs sung by the music team, the energy level was brought through the roof. Everyone was jumping and having a ton of fun. With a combination of an MC who could stir up the atmosphere, the alternating of songs and sharing, everyone was engaged in the program thoroughly. I think this was the session that I was actually fully awoke in for a few reasons: First, the atmosphere was really good and everyone’s energy was high; Secondly, one of the girls who came in to share (who will be studying to become a nun in October) is a friend of mine; and lastly, I got plenty of rest after taking a nap during one of Father Chan’s talks. My friend who decided to become a nun shared her life story about having a high-paying job and a rather annoying boyfriend, but she wasn’t able to find the meaning of life until she had decided to follow Jesus. When I first met her, she already left her work and became a full-time volunteer, helping the prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside so that they could stop selling their bodies. I joked with her that since there would not be a lot of good food once she enters the convent, I would take her out for a feast. I also want to act as the devil and tempt her with good food, to see if she could really let go of this materialistic world (laugh). Anyway, the sharing session ended with a lady – who was married for thirty-plus years – who used the Bible as the base of her relationship with her husband which I thought was a true witness of love! How romantic it would be to imagine my wife and I, as an elderly couple holding hands, talking to youths about our marriage!
今天加西營的主題是U Turn to God﹐請來的講者是林榮鈞神父。很巧合他亦是我第一年去加西時的講者﹐所以對他一份特別的親切感。他現在美國攻讀哲學博士學位﹐備準回港教聖神修院的哲學課程﹐聖神修院是香港唯一訓練神父的地方。他看上去很年青為人幽默﹐平時也是做青年牧民的工作﹐所以聽他講道絕對不會覺得沉悶。與電視做穌哥騷那個牧師相比﹐林神父不是只顧搞笑而把道理低智化﹐他不是講耶穌會打救你那些膚淺的行貨﹐而是借助聖經中的經文﹐讓我們思考人生的意義。他每天也有一至兩節講道理的時間﹐這些時間可說是來加西營的精髓所在。以前我在聽講道聽完就算數﹐今年我竟然在聽完後找時間把重點和反思寫下來。一來是神父言之有物﹐讓我看到些以前想不到的想法﹐二來是我要準備寫這篇文章吧。