Russia: A church-run holiday camp for 50 Armenian Catholic children and young people
Once again this year 50 young people from the Armenian Catholic community of Venyov were able to take part in a youth summer camp. Aged between nine and 17, they were able to spend a week together with their friends at a relaxing holiday location, having fun and also deepening their faith.
Armenian Catholics make up only a small minority in their native country of Armenia, among a population that is overwhelmingly Armenian Orthodox. In Russia they are only a tiny group. In this vast country they have just four parishes. In truth it could be quite easy for the children to lose their Catholic identity. In the Church-run summer camps they have an opportunity to share their language, their faith and their customs, together with other children, to learn more about the history of their Church and their homeland and become more deeply rooted in the life of their Church. During the eight days of the camp they have daily Mass and a programme that includes not only painting, dancing, singing and gymnastics, but also lessons in their own Armenian language, history and traditions. At the same time, the younger participants are helped to prepare for their First Holy Communion.
(A group of children and youth with handmade cards at the Summer camp for the Armenian communities in Russia
© Aid to the Church in Need)
These summer camps have been held in previous years and have always been a huge success. Their parish priest, Father Sedrak Khitaryan writes, “The Church plays an immeasurably important role in the upbringing of these children and in the formation of their value system. Their religion forms the inner world of these children.” He is delighted that these young people are able to receive spiritual nourishment during the summer camps, while at the same time relaxing, having fun and enjoying an unforgettable experience. The camps are organised with the help of young volunteers from the parish.
The grant given each year by the catholic charity Aid to the Church in NeedÂ makes it possible to fund and organise these events. ACN ‘s grant this year was $5,900.
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