The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Youth & Young Adult Ministry: The Intentional Community of WorkCamp

Authored by Christine Najarian in Issue #10.1 of Catechetical Review

“Whenever you are united, you have marvelous strength. Whenever you are enthused about life in common, you are capable of great sacrifices for others and for the community.”[1] Immediately upon reading Pope Francis’ words in Christus Vivit (“Christ Is Alive”), I had them highlighted and underlined, with “WORKCAMP!” written emphatically in the margins. What the Holy Father had written in his apostolic exhortation to young people describes our diocesan WorkCamp so perfectly that for a moment I wondered if he had heard about our program.

Each year in the Diocese of Arlington, more than a thousand high school students, adult leaders, and volunteers transform a large school into WorkCamp’s “home base,” where they live together for a week in an intentional Christian community with the purpose of serving the poor of our diocese. “Enthused about life in common,” they make a number of significant sacrifices: trading a week of summer vacation for long days of hard work, sleeping on an air mattress on a classroom floor, even giving up their cell phone. How do high schoolers come to consider these sacrifices worthwhile? Through a lived experience of Acts 2:42–47, the description of the early Church that has become the model of communal life upon which WorkCamp is built.



[1] Pope Francis, Christus Vivit, no. 110.

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]

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