Camping With the Knights in Kentucky
A group of middle school children from Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Illinois, and Tennessee spend the weekend camping together with Fr. Roberto.
The third weekend of October, I had the opportunity to take my two oldest boys, Francesco and Pietro, to a camping trip as part of the experience of the Knights. The location of the National Bridge State Resort Park near Lexington, KY was beautiful, but even more rewarding was the company of a few other families and the spiritual guidance of Father Roberto and Deacon Jacob.
There were many activities throughout the weekend: the hike, the games, the singing around the bonfire, the Mass celebrated outside, the cooking and meals together. All of these created strong bonds between the participants and my son’s experience is proof of this. In fact, when Francesco first participated in the Knights’ Zoom meetings a few months ago, he was rather quiet and not very involved. This trip and the community experience changed the situation: he now shares a lot more during the online meetings, is always looking forward to the next encounter, and is eager to know his friends more and grow in the journey of faith and friendship with them.
However, the camping trip changed me as well. Personally, I got two main insights. The first came from Father Roberto: He was mentioning to the kids the very simple truth that wherever we are and at all times we are in the presence of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, we may want to acknowledge their presence by regularly “talking” to them in the silence of our heart or as a group. Father Roberto’s teaching is powerful and reminded me that what is important in our faith is to allow Jesus and Mary to enter our life, share with them our feelings and thoughts, and ultimately build a relationship with them. Prayers are and should be a crucial part of building this relationship.
The second insight came from another father, who while hiking was talking of the importance of the movement of Communion and Liberation for his family. More specifically, I heard this father saying that he and his wife “cannot raise their kids on their own; they need the help of others to do so.” How much truth is in this statement! Certainly, the parents have a fundamental role in the growth of their kids, but each family is surrounded by other families, other communities, and the society at large. The movement of Communion and Liberation provides each family with an experience of fraternity, where our kids receive invaluable teaching, perhaps through example, from other families. Talking with other parents about how they managed a situation with their children or about some of their experiences as families has been enriching and precious. I am grateful to Fr. Roberto for his paternity and his sacrifice of driving eight hours both ways to share this wonderful time together with us.
Paolo, Knoxville, TN