Embers of past CHRISTpower retreats will ignite throughout the diocese and beyond the week of July 13-18, as former participants and others take up the #CHRISTpower Challenge.
This interactive observance is being held in lieu of the annual Catholic service and renewal retreat for high school teens.
“While we can’t offer a traditional CHRISTpower experience this summer, we know that the Power of Christ is still alive and active in the Church,” stated Joe Powers, who was helping to organize this year’s retreat.
CHRISTpower alumni and all others who want to take part are invited to perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy in their homes and local communities and to share their work through the social media campaign, #CHRISTpower Challenge.
People who sign up at diojeffcity.org/christpower will receive a specially-designed CHRISTpower T-shirt.
Participants will be able to sign up for specific acts of prayer, fasting and service in solidarity with one another throughout the week.
So far, pledges of fasting have included giving up certain meals or the use of electronic devices.
“We even have someone who’s not a morning person, who will be fasting from sleeping in,” he said.
CHRISTpower retreats combine service to and fellowship with people in need, camaraderie-building activities, prayer experiences and lively faith discussions.
This was to have been the diocese’s 17th annual offering.
“Even though what we have this year may look different and the setting may be different, the core value of making Christ present to others through service cannot be cancelled,” said Mr. Powers.
This year’s CHRISTpower theme was to be: “Long live the Queen of Heaven and Earth!”
“Mary is a beautiful role model of service and of prayer, so she is our inspiration for the week,” said Father Daniel Merz, spiritual director for CHRISTpower.
Mr. Powers is working a youth ministry internship with the diocese and plans to pursue a master’s degree in theology at Ave Maria University in Florida.
He hopes that in discerning a service project, participants will ask themselves: “In what ways will this make me better? In what ways can I really serve the people around me in my own community, in my own life, maybe even in my own home?”
All service, to some degree, is sacrificial.
“Our Blessed Mother, among many other things, is a perfect model of servitude,” said Mr. Powers. “She was obedient to the will of God in all of the suffering that she knew it would entail.
“In that way, she is a model for all Christians, he said.