FacetoFace Ministries adapts Ignite youth camps to fit COVID-19 terrain

FacetoFace Ministries Ignite camp held several years ago at St. Therese Institute in Bruno included praise-and-worship sessions for teens attending the faith-based Catholic camp. FacetoFace is adjusting its Ignite camps this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. (Catholic Saskatoon News photo - submitted)

By Quinton Amundson, The Catholic Register

[Saskatoon – Canadian Catholic News] – Learning about God’s profound love in seminars and small groups, experiencing Christ during eucharistic adoration and dancing to worship tunes are among the joys traditionally experienced at an Ignite camp.

Each summer hundreds of Grade 9-12 students in western Canada have attended these faith gatherings organized by FacetoFace Ministries, based in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

FacetoFace was poised to run a 2020 slate featuring events in Bruno, SK., Bonnyville, AB., and Prince George, BC, but then COVID-19 struck and turned the world upside down.

Hosting no Ignite camps in 2020 was never an option considered by the ministry team when it held Zoom meetings to figure out a path forward.

“We wanted to ensure that whatever plan we came up with would be of the Lord, and to provide an experience that defines what Ignite is,” said Jon Courchene, the executive director of FacetoFace Ministries.

Instead of the traditional overnight camp experience for five days, there will be four four-day camps — three in-person and one virtually — running in early August. All on-site functions will be hosted in Saskatchewan, the hub province for FacetoFace Ministries.

From Aug. 4-7, 2020, Ignite will run concurrently at Christ the King Parish in Regina and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Saskatoon. Both camps sold out quickly as there is only capacity for 30 people — 23 youth, six event leaders and one priest — to abide by the Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 regulations.

These sellouts inspired organizers to add another camp, again at Our Lady of Lourdes, Aug. 11-14, 2020. The first online event runs Aug. 18-20.

Courchene and his team set the three touchstones of what Ignite strives for: to ensure youth are offered opportunities to encounter God in the sacraments, wisdom on attaining practical faith growth and a forum to build Christ-centred bonds with other young disciples.

While the ongoing pandemic will undoubtedly be mentioned during presentations and homilies, Courchene does not envision COVID-19 altering the thematic content in a significant fashion.

“The message of the Gospel has not changed. What God has done for us and how He wants us to live a life of virtue has not changed.”

Courchene said planning for the 2020 events has been invigorating. “This year will be distinct and different and there will be an opportunity for a huge encounter with the Lord,” he said.

For information, see f2f.ca/ignite2020.