Don’t miss out on summer camp at Annunciation Heights

Avatar

By Topher Aderhold

Topher Aderhold is the Camp Director at Annunciation Heights.

“Every day that passes, I fall more desperately in love with the mountains… I am ever more determined to climb the mountains, to scale the mighty peaks, to feel that pure joy which can only be felt in the mountains.”  – Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

When it comes to commentary on the joy that is found in the mountains, Frassati said it best. Up in the mountains near Estes Park, located a stone’s throw from historic Camp St. Malo, a new Catholic youth and family camp — Annunciation Heights — is making monumental plans for Summer Camp 2019, the inaugural Summer Camp experience for The Heights.

While the calendar reads January, and snow and freezing temps are the norm up here at 9,000 feet, summer is coming, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re creating a place where young people will have the opportunity to leave the busyness of everyday life behind (including their cell phones!). With the guidance of amazing, top-notch young adults, campers will be challenged to grow, to learn, to try new things, and to have loads of fun. Campers, most importantly, will make lasting friendships, and they’ll be encouraged to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

While there are countless amazing activities on property — zip-lining, rock climbing, canoeing, archery, fishing, sports, crafts, etc. — we’ll also be taking our campers off camp. With Rocky Mountain National Park just a two minute drive away, campers will be led by counselors into the wilderness on day hikes and, for some, up to the summits of peaks. Hikes will be age-appropriate — to conquer a mountain, regardless of the elevation, is an accomplishment that campers will cherish.

There is indeed a pure joy that can only be felt in the mountains. Surrounding our property on all sides are peaks of all sizes, with Longs Peak — the famous 14’er — standing the tallest right in our front yard. Added to the stunning views, the joy of the mountains, and the awesome activities we’ll be doing at The Heights, is our shared Catholic faith — it’s Jesus Christ. He is the true Source and Summit.

In mid-January, the Annunciation Heights community welcomed our new chaplain, Fr. Donatian Kaigoma. Fr. Donatian’s presence, and the sacraments he’ll be offering for our campers and staffers every day, will create an atmosphere in which all of us — campers and staffers alike — will grow in our love for Jesus Christ and His Church.

Yes, it’s winter, but summer is coming, and we’re absolutely thrilled to welcome you to the mountain of Annunciation Heights.

We invite you to come be a part of our inaugural Summer Camp experience — an experience your camper will never forget. Summer Camp at Annunciation Heights is being offered for campers entering 4th-12th grade. With only five one-week sessions being offered this first summer, space is limited.

In closing, to once more quote Blessed Pier Giorgio Frasatti, “Verso l’alto!”

To the Heights!

REGISTER NOW FOR SUMMER CAMP 2019

Visit annunciationheights.org.

COMING UP: Repenting and renewing our role as shepherds

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

Jesus tells the disciples in St. John’s Gospel, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,” contrasting his goodness with the thieves who come only to steal and destroy.  This past week my fellow U.S. bishops and I sought to act as good shepherds by approving three measures to increase our vigilance and prevention of the evil of sexual abuse by bishops, shepherds who have betrayed the flock entrusted to them.

This last weekend we celebrated Father’s Day, which should remind biological and spiritual fathers of their great responsibility of protecting and raising up new life. This mission is further emphasized by the Rite for the Ordination of a Bishop, which says, “In the Church entrusted to you, be a faithful steward, moderator and guardian of the mysteries of Christ. Since you are chosen by the Father to rule over his family, be mindful always of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and is known by them, and who did not hesitate to lay down his life for them.” This is the model for all bishops.

But the scandals of Theodore McCarrick, Bishop Bransfield and others have made it clear that our vigilance has not been adequate. To quote from the just-issued “Affirming Our Episcopal Commitment” statement, “We, the bishops of the United States, have heard the anger expressed by so many within and outside of the Church over these failures.  The anger is justified; it has humbled us, prompting us into self-examination, repentance, and a desire to do better.” This sentiment was clear in my interactions with my fellow bishops in Baltimore this past week.

As evidence of our commitment, we overwhelmingly passed a set of directives for the bishops’ conference to implement Pope Francis’ Vos estis lux mundi document on handling abuse by priests and bishops. These directives include the creation by May 31, 2020 of a third-party phone and online system that receives reports of potential violations by bishops, the establishment of a protocol in which the Holy See designates and authorizes metropolitan archbishops to investigate cases of alleged abuse by bishops, and the expectation that the investigating bishop involve lay experts in assisting with these inquiries. For any investigations that falls under my jurisdiction, I will ensure that lay experts are involved, as I’ve done throughout my time as a bishop. As the new directives indicate, I will also appoint a lay person to receive complaints from the third-party reporting system, publicize how to make reports, ascertain the credibility of reports and gather any additional information necessary for an investigation to commence.

I also want to highlight that the bishops overwhelmingly approved protocols for imposing limitations on former bishops who were removed from office for grave reasons and that we adopted a code of conduct for bishops, which explicitly states that the Dallas Charter will now include bishops.

All these measures are in addition to those we have been enforcing since 2002 in relation to preventing sexual abuse of minors by priests. The Archdiocese of Denver has a strong track record of actively working to protect children, including annual audits, background checks of employees and clergy, and a code of conduct that previous bishops and I have all signed, and a robust training program aimed at fostering safe environments for children. The effectiveness of these measures over the past 20 years has made us a model for other institutions seeking to combat abuse.

Pope Francis rightly noted in a January 2019 personal letter to the U.S. bishops that the consequences of our failures cannot be fixed by being administrators of new programs or committees.  They can only be resolved by humility, listening, self-examination and conversion.

My brother bishops and I hope that by obeying the Word of God, seeking the will of the Father and embracing what the Church expects of us, we will imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Read more

Pope Francis’ motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi can be read at: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/motu_proprio/documents/papa-francesco-motu-proprio-20190507_vos-estis-lux-mundi.html

The USCCB Directives implementing Vos estis can be read at: http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/2019-june-meeting/upload/usccb-modified-amended-directives-2019-06.pdf

Reach out

Christi Sullivan serves as the Protection Specialist for the Office of Child and Youth Protection and can be reached at 303-715-3241 or Christi.Sullivan@archden.org.

Victims of abuse can reach out to Dr. Jim Langley, the Victim Assistance Coordinator, at 720-239-2832 or Victim.Assistance@ArchDen.org.