Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Everyday Grace:
Nurture Faith at Family Camp

by Mary Cronk Farrell

(From the July 6, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

Mary Cronk Farrell Attention, moms:†Imagine a weekend where you and your family are served three great meals a day and you donít have to cook or do any dishes. Imagine uninterrupted time to talk with other parents about family and faith issues while your children do activities with a Christian theme. Teens go hiking; younger kids play games and perform a skit while toddlers enjoy supervised play. Thereís even free time when you can take a nap if what you really want is rest.

Dads: Imagine a weekend away from home and yard projects. Itís no work and all play. Itís quality time with your family. You can turn off your phone, relax and even take a turn on the zip line with your kids. Picture gathering with other Catholic families in a beautiful mountain setting for swimming, singing around the campfire, teaming up for silly relay races and celebrating Mass.

Iím describing Catholic Family Camp, my favorite summer activity throughout the years my children have been growing up. For 13 of the past 15 summers, Mike and I have taken our family for a weekend at Camp Ghormley, located in the mountains near White Pass in Central Washington. The weekend is sponsored by Catholic Life Ministries Northwest, an organization founded to help Catholics deepen our faith, strengthen our families and draw together in prayer and friendship. CLMís mission is to empower people to live authentically as followers of Jesus in our homes, at work, in the community and world.

Unlike most things we do in society and the church, which often split families for this class or that lesson, Catholic Family Camp brings the family together for a weekend of celebrating and learning about Catholic Christian life. Attending the camp with my husband and children has been a great support in building our family faith life. For me, itís inspiring to hear other moms and dads talk about their faith, and how they deal with challenges in their lives.

I like the way the weekend has shown my children that faith experiences can be fun. They sit still and are quiet every Sunday in church, but at camp they can experience Godís presence while they wiggle, play, shout and sing. Youngsters experience a good balance of quiet prayer and active fun, time with their family and time to make new friends. Oh, did I forget to mention the ice cream?† The waffles with strawberries and whipped topping? And Símores íround the campfire?

Each year the weekend activities are centered on a theme, and families share the wealth of their own experience as well as learn practical ideas they can take home with them. This July the focus will be on living Catholic family values in everyday life, and on family communication. Mike and I will be presenting some strategies to help families improve their communication skills.†Not that we communicate perfectly; rather, we have struggled to integrate two very different communication styles every since we got married. Through our challenges we have learned a lot and will be sharing strategies that got us through the nitty-gritty tough times.†Now that our two youngest are teens, weíre getting a lot of practice.

Weíd like to invite you to join us at Camp Ghormley July 21-23 for Catholic Family Camp. Events begin at 6:30 Friday night and conclude at 1:30 Sunday afternoon. The accommodations are slightly rustic cabins, but there are hot showers and flush toilets. Five meals are served beginning with Saturday breakfast and ending with brunch on Sunday. Eucharist is celebrated Saturday morning and Sunday noon. The schedule of activities is relaxed, and families are encouraged to spend the weekend participating at their comfort level. The cost varies depending on the ages of your children, and scholarships are available. No family is turned away due to inability to pay.

For more information or to register, call Catholic Life Ministries Northwest at (509) 457-9166 or visit their website:

© 2006, Mary Cronk Farrell

(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and childrenís writer. Her latest book, Celebrating Faith: Year-Round Activities for Catholic Families, has been published by St. Anthony Messenger Press. Contact her at

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