Camp Comeca Youth Retreat Rebuilds My Church

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

August 28, 2022

St. Francis of Assisi heard Christ on the San Damiano Crucifix say ” Rebuild My Church”. It was not the first time or the last time someone was asked by God to accomplish an important mission. In the last months, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Rochelle Kerkhof  listened and became more aware of an inner voice directing  her to do something  specific for the youth in an area serving nine parish sites  in the Grant Deanery, with communities in Wauneta, Grant, Benkelman, Stratton, Trenton, Palisade, Elsie and Wallace This led to her creating a Youth Retreat in early June with the theme “From Ascension Thursday to Pentecost Sunday” at Comeca Camp and Retreat Center in the Diocese of Lincoln. It was a project created from the bottom up with the help of the Holy Spirit every step of the way.

Hand-picked adult leaders planned and carried out various roles for the days. These generous individuals included Carleen Barger, Lincoln; Evan Sestak, Lincoln; Steve Berg, Hastings; Emily Cahow, Benkelman; Laurie Maris, Wauneta; and Matt Sestak, Lincoln.  High school students who responded to an invitation for this unique retreat arrived from these Nebraska locations: Lincoln, Hastings, Benkelman, McCook and Wauneta.

Students’ responses at the event’s conclusion were filled with gratitude:

  • “Thank you! We had an amazing time. Thank you for all you did for us. I have learned so much and would definitely come again.!” -Junior High School Student
  • “This experience is so very great. I think that this will forever impact my faith. Thank you for all you did; it is very much appreciated.”- Senior High School Student

Sister Rochelle thanked the local pastors, especially Fr. Matthew Eickhoff and Fr. Bernard Lorenz, for providing the youth with sacraments and the Holy Masses. “It is truly remarkable how things work together for good when one listens internally, takes a risk, and manages the courage to move forward.” To God be the glory now and forever. Amen.

Next year’s camp retreat is scheduled for June 2-4, 2023.

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