ExCo Recs: Spiritual Reading

Looking for spiritual reading during Lent? Here’s a list of spiritual reading book recommendations from some of your 2019 ExCo team.

Searching For and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe
“I read this book last Lent (2018) and it gave me such a great perspective on what it means to gain inner peace in our lives. It also just helped me center my everyday life on God, and it definitely was a good experience reading this to start my day every morning.” - Lucia, Co-overall

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly
“We know what makes us happy, but we don’t always do what makes us happy. Resistance stands between you and happiness, but how do you start choosing happiness again? Through his short, interesting stories, Matthew Kelly helps us recognize resistance and how to conquer resistance to become the-best-version-of-yourself!” - Cecilia, Fundraising

Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe
"This is a short book with a lot of deep insights — if you are dealing with difficult circumstances, this book focuses on the virtue of hope and and offers spiritual guidance to finding peace in a chaotic world." - Melissa, Web Designer

YouCat - Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church by Christoph Schönborn
“This is a great book for those who are trying to identify themselves as a youth Catholic in the modern society we are in right now. Question-answer format, and easy to follow. Definitely a book I would recommend if you have a lot of questions about your faith, or in Catholicism in general.” - Osanna, Promotions

Life Lessons - Fifty Things I learned in in My First Fifty Years by Patrick Madrid
“Has short stories that takes 10-15 minutes to read and I find them to help me see the bigger picture in different scenarios. “Life Lessons is a practical invitation to prayerful reflection on God’s active presence in our lives, especially when and where we least expect to find him!” - Jennifer Fulwiler” - Mark, Operations

Availability by Dr. Robert J. Wicks
“In this book, Dr. Wicks (a psychotherapist and Catholic speaker) talks about what it means to make ourselves available to ourselves, other people, and God. I love how applicable this book is to our daily interactions with anyone in our lives, and I especially appreciate the message he conveys about how to truly be present and love others according to the Christian lifestyle.” - Lucia, Co-overall

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
“A natural follow up to his more renowned Mere Christianity, here C.S. Lewis tackles moral ethics and the dilemma of evil and suffering - a universal and fundamental concern - with all of his customary eloquence, insight, compassion, and wit. Lewis has a wonderful gift of breaking down the complex into the comprehensible without losing much nuance, which makes this a nice primer to basic philosophy and ‘popular theology.’” - Jonathan, Small Group Leaders Lead

Becoming Human by Jean Vanier
“Jean Vanier founded L’Arche, an organization that is dedicated to the creation of homes where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers and friends. His book is a small and powerful read that explores what it means to be human, what it means to belong, and what it means to open ourselves to others. Top off your reading experience by visiting a L’Arche home near you!” - Helen, Fundraising

Apologia Pro Vita Sua by Cardinal John Henry Newman
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.” - Genesia, Designer

New to spiritual reading and don’t know where to start? Get free books from Dynamic Catholic - choose whatever sticks out to you!


Side note: You can use Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. Consider supporting nonprofits by our very own CACCLC campers, like Rosemary’s nonprofit Empathy FX International and Kelly’s nonprofit See The Lord!

What should I give up for Lent?

Every year, Lent seems to sneak up on me…one week we’re wishing each other “Happy Chinese New Year!” and all of a sudden Ash Wednesday rolls around and I find myself in an internal frenzy trying to decide exactly what to do for Lent. This season of penance is a great opportunity to make more room for God in our lives, as we prepare to remember and celebrate the greatest mysteries of our faith: the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

There’s no one “right” way to do Lent, and it’s going to look different for everyone. This is your chance to take a reflect on the areas where you personally struggle, and turn away from sin and towards Jesus through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Here are some basic ideas for each of the pillars of Lent; try choosing one thing from each pillar! Choose Lenten practices that would ultimately draw you closer to our Lord and prepare your heart for Holy Week.

PRAYER

  • Follow along with a Lenten devotional like the one from Blessed Is She

  • Follow along with Lent reflections via email

  • Reflect on the daily Gospel reading

  • Go to daily Mass an extra day or two outside of Sunday

  • Pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet

  • Pray the Examen at the end of your day

  • Go to Holy Hour or Stations of the Cross

  • Do 10 minutes of spiritual reading each day

  • Lectio Divina

  • Add dedicated quiet time to your schedule each day

  • Start journaling

  • Pray specifically for a different person in your life each day

FASTING

  • Fast from social media like Facebook/Instagram, or set a time limit on those apps

  • Fast from Netflix

  • Fast from all media including TV, music, and podcasts

  • Fast from your snooze button

  • Abstain from alcohol

  • Abstain from soda/sweet drinks

  • Abstain from meat on an additional day like Wednesday

  • Limit your shower time

  • Limit your phone use at night

  • Fast from filling in silence with music

  • Fast from music with inappropriate/suggestive lyrics

  • Fast from unnecessary purchases

  • Fast from overstuffing your calendar

  • Give up flaking and follow through on your commitments

  • Give up overworking and abstain from checking your work email after hours

  • Give up speeding

  • Give up online shopping

ALMSGIVING

  • Donate to a charity each week

  • Serve at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen

  • Greet the homeless when you see them

  • Spend time with those who are lonely or forgotten

  • Set aside money saved from not buying unnecessary things and donate it at the end to Catholic Charities or another charity

  • Write an affirmation note for someone each day of Lent

  • Write down 3 things you’re thankful for at the end of each day

  • Show an act of kindness to your family or roommates each day

  • Participate in the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge and give up your stuff

  • Give your time and participate in 40 Days for Life

Still need ideas for what to give up and take up?

One word of advice: Make it doable. Often, we can be overly ambitious and commit to way too much. We start with the best of intentions, aiming to become the ultimate spiritual ninja…but when we inevitably can’t keep up, we grow discouraged. When we set unrealistic goals, we may be tempted to give up completely. Keep your commitments modest and practical, and your Lent will be better for it!

Again, Lent is not about getting it perfectly right. Just do your best, and when you fail in your commitments, let your failure be a lesson in humility and just get up and try again the next day. Ask the Holy Spirit how He wants to make you more like Jesus, and then follow that prompting in your Lenten practices.

CACCLC 2018 Recap

Thanks for joining us at CACCLC 2018!! This year, we had 110 campers and 5 religious (priests and sisters); 39% of our campers were attending CACCLC for the first time. While most campers came from all over California, we were also excited to host campers who flew in from Texas, Michigan, Nevada, and Canada!

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For those who missed it or those who want to relive the memories, here’s a recap:

Day 1 (Friday night)

Check-in began with some awesome swag: a t-shirt, tote bag, eye mask and ear plugs, CACCLC stickers, lanyard, and nametag. We had dinner, played some icebreaker games, and went to mass together at the new chapel at night. Fr. Ken celebrated mass, and during the sign of peace, he taught us a different way to share the sign of peace—passing it on starting from the altar to the people. After mass, it was free time, so some headed to bed while others stayed up playing board games and eating instant ramen!

Day 2 (Saturday)

On Saturday, we started with an optional morning prayer and morning exercise. We met our small groups and created team chants, followed by breakfast and introductions. Fr. Jim’s first talk was an introduction to the core of Christianity/Catholicism. Fr. Jim reminded us that our faith came from Judaism, and said that we can be sacraments for others. He talked about the role of Mary and the saints, the purpose of hierarchy, and the stages of growth. Our journey in faith takes time, and it requires all of us: head, heart, and hands!

We discussed more in depth in our small groups, and regrouped as a large group afterwards to share our reflections and ask more questions. After, Fr. Jim led us in a “walkthrough mass” where he paused throughout to explain the different parts of the mass—he talked about the origin and meaning of different actions and words, deepening our understanding of these things many of us may have taken for granted.

After lunch, Fr. Jim gave his second talk about “The Heart.” He reminded us of the Great Commandment: to love God, and love your neighbor. We learned that our relationships should be both face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder. He talked about compassion (to suffer with someone), loving your enemies, and love & sexuality. He brought up community and how it is both a gift and a task that takes time.

Then, we had our annual epic large group activity - this year, it was a relay ending with short team skits!

After the large group activity, we had free time. Campers played board games, played spikeball, went hiking, played basketball, took naps, enjoyed the pool, chatted with each other, and ate snacks. After free time, we met new people over a delicious dinner.

After dinner, we had a workshop panel about spiritual direction featuring Fr. Rod and Sr. Danielle (from the retreat center) and our very own camper Kristen! They answered questions like: What’s the difference between a spiritual director and a therapist? Do you need to pay a spiritual director? How do you go about finding a spiritual director? What do you talk about?

Workshop 2 was a talk by Fr. Ken about discernment, who shared more about his own struggle with addiction and his recovery. He recommended that during discernment (about your vocation and anything else), you should speak to someone you trust (like a spiritual director), and ultimately make a decision (instead of discerning forever).

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We ended the night singing praise & worship music during adoration.

Day 3 (Sunday)

Sunday began with optional morning prayer and fun partner morning exercises led by Claire and Helen. After breakfast, we heard Talk #3 from Fr. Jim on “The Head,” where he encouraged us to take time to study the Bible with good commentaries, read spiritual books, and “pray the prayer that’s given to you” because God speaks to us in different ways. He emphasized that you can’t separate the head from the heart, and quoted artist Sister Corita Kent who said “to understand is to stand under, which is to look up, which is a good way to understand.” He said wisdom is when you have good judgment AND good timing. In our small groups, we reflected on our own level of wisdom.

We had mass in the morning, followed by lunch. Unfortunately, technical problems prevented us from a successful video conference call with our sister camps WCCCLC & ECCCLC, but Cecilia walked us through all the camp’s presentations. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at their beautiful campsites in Canada, and were fortunate to have Rey from WCCCLC join us at CACCLC so he could talk through their presentation!

After the conference call, we had a workshop from Fr. George who drove all the way from Berkeley to join us in Three Rivers for a couple hours to talk about Catholicism in the Global Church, providing some interesting stats about world religions and putting our faith (and our Chinese background) in context.

In Talk #4 on “The Hands,” Fr. Jim talked about some important practices of the Christian Life like the Corporal Works of Mercy and Catholic social justice principles. He began with some wisdom from China: “When I hear, I forget. When I see, I remember. When I do, I understand.” Taking ownership of our faith means it shouldn’t be a private matter between just ourselves and God—we cannot remain passive in our own comfort (like taking opium to feel good). We must remember that our faith is in this world. He discussed the 9 principles of social justice and challenged us saying, “if you don’t risk anything, what can you say you’ve done?” In our small groups, we discussed what scares us about doing justice.

The evening progressed with another block of free time in the afternoon, dinner, and Office Hours with Fr. Jim where he answered questions that campers had submitted throughout the weekend. At night, we sang Taize songs during Adoration, and ended with an optional Night Prayer. Many campers stayed up late at night to write affirmation notes to each other—an annual camp tradition! More ramen was eaten - thanks to Cecilia and Jonathan for the great snack selection this year!

Day 4 (Monday)

Our last day began with a later start, with breakfast and camp evaluations. We had Mass and a quick closing talk by Fr. Jim. Our ExCo overalls Cecilia and Jonathan shared some closing thoughts and awarded Lily with a special ExCo appreciation award for her hard work on design! Prizes were also awarded to the winners of the Promotion Team’s photo caption contest. After, several campers shared heartfelt and touching testimonies about their experiences at camp this year. It was a joy to hear how campers felt welcomed, how they made new friends and had meaningful conversations, and how they felt God’s presence. Thank you to all those who bravely shared with open and honest hearts! After lunch, we all took group photos before heading back out onto the road.

Closing thoughts

As the 2018 ExCo team, we want to thank all of YOU campers for coming to camp this year, especially the first-timers who gave CACCLC a chance. We hope that you all had a fruitful experience and hope to see you next year — save the date for Labor Day 2019 (Aug 30–Sept 2)!!

In the coming months, we’ll be assembling the ExCo team for 2019, so stay tuned if you indicated interest in being on ExCo or Support next year. We keep in touch via our Facebook group so be sure to join the group for all the latest announcements! Remember that community is super important, so check your camp booklet (pg. 74) for local communities and bible studies you can join. Now go forth and take ownership of your faith with your head, heart, & hands!

Fr. Jim's Suggested Reading List

As promised, here are the books that our CACCLC 2018 Spiritual Director recommended in the “Head” talk:

  1. Michael Cameron, Unfolding Sacred Scripture: How Catholics Read the Bible (Liturgical Press, 2015). An accessible introduction that reflections the rich Catholic approach to understanding the Scriptures.

  2. Donald Nicholl, Holiness (Pauline Books and Media, 2005). An introduction to the Catholic spiritual life in conversation with Judaism and Islam.

  3. Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality (Image Book NY, 2014). Another excellent description of growth in the spiritual life.

  4. René Laurentin, Mary in Scripture, Liturgy, and the Catholic Tradition (Paulist Press, 2014). By the dean of Mariology who influenced the thinking at Vatican II, this is a great introduction to the role of Mary in the life of the Church and individuals. Also on Mary: Sr. Beth Johnson, Truly our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (Continuum, 2002), by a leading feminist orthodox Catholic theologian.

  5. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (many editions and dates). A series of radio talks given over the BBC during WWII; a classic. Also, read his The Great Divorce and Screwtape Letters. The Great Divorce describes people in hell who get a second chance through friends in heaven, and Screwtape Letters are a series of fictional correspondence to a young devil on how best to tempt people to sin.

  6. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., Sing a New Song: The Christian Vocation (Templegate Publishers, 1999).  A rich interpretation of every Christian’s call, including those thinking of religious life.

  7. David Matzko McCarthy, ed., The Heart of Catholic Social Teaching: Its Origins and Contemporary Significance (Brazos Press, 2009). A good introduction.

  8. Cardinal Ratzinger, Handing on the Faith in an Age of Disbelief (Ignatius Press, 2006). Some excellent essays in this short book. Also, by Ratzinger, a classic, Introduction to Christianity (Ignatius Press, 2004).

  9. Simone Weil, Waiting on God (Collins, 1950). An extraordinary collection of essays written by a brilliant Jewish thinker who died at a young age during WWII.

  10. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine, and What Matters in the End (Metropolitan Books, 2014), an exploration by a gifted Hindu American physician on the challenges people in the medical profession face. Also, in a similar vein, Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air (Random House, 2016), written by a young gifted neuroscientist who faces a terminal illness.

  11. John O’Malley, S.J., What Happened at Vatican II (Harvard, 2008). The best introduction to the significance of Vatican II. Also, his collection of essays, Catholic History for Today’s Church: How our Past Illuminates our Present (Sheed and Ward, 2015). Superb.

What to bring to camp

Only a few days left until CACCLC! Check your emails for the Welcome Packet, and if you requested a carpool, you should have received a separate email with your carpool group! Your small group leader will be reaching out to you within the next few days.

Please email cacclc2018@cacclc.org if you did not receive the Welcome Packet or carpool email.

Packing for camp? Enjoy this What to Bring video for some items to bring to camp!

Who says it has to be itsy bitsy?

It's summer, it's hot, and you can't wait to jump into the swimming pool at CACCLC...but where can you find a modest AND fashionable swimsuit? Here are a couple sites that my friends and I have found good swimwear from:

Jessica Rey
https://www.jessicarey.com/
Cute one-piece swimsuits, tankinis, and swim dresses drawing inspiration from Audrey Hepburn—timeless and feminine. Ethically made in LA and made with eco-friendly fabrics. Founded by a Catholic woman!

Seea
https://www.theseea.com/collections/one-piece-suits
Seea is actually a women's surfing brand, so they have one-piece swimsuits and even rashguards and wetsuits if you prefer longer sleeves! I personally really like their fabric pattern combinations and cuts. Seea suits are also a 100% Californian product, and some of their suits are exclusively designed for Anthropologie!

Anthropologie
https://www.anthropologie.com/swimwear-one-piece
Speaking of Anthropologie, they have a few cute one-piece swimsuits too! I like this giraffe Onia Kelly One-Piece Swimsuit and this fun kiwi-like Onia Kelly One-Piece Swimsuit

Target
www.target.com
Okay, so maybe you don't want to shell out $100-150 for a swimsuit, and your budget is more like $30-50. Target.com has a decently large selection of one-pieces and tankinis, thanks to these being in fashion right now. My favorite finds from Target include this laser-cut high neck one and this cute swim romper.

Amazon
www.amazon.com
If you just want to find the most affordable swimsuit, I am fairly certain you can find a solid basic one-piece swimsuit for a decent price ($10-20?) on the infinite abyss that is Amazon. And maybe it will even ship in 2 days if you have Prime!

 

Wait, what is modesty and why should I care?

The way we dress says something about ourselves to the world. Through modesty, a woman tells the world that she has more to offer than her body—and lets everyone focus on her as a whole person instead, revealing her dignity and value. How we present ourselves commands the reverence we deserve and presents the opportunity to be truly cherished, valued, and loved. 

Sisters, I pray you know how good and beautiful you are, and that you use your beauty to always lead others to Christ.

Learn more

Blogs
https://justahandmaiden.com/2018/07/06/we-veil-what-is-sacred/
http://www.restoreculture.com/modesty-really-mean/
https://focusoncampus.org/content/lies-i-tell-myself-about-modesty
https://lifeteen.com/blog/bikini-battle-sexy-vs-beautiful/
https://thosecatholicmen.com/articles/modesty-is-for-men-too-2/

Videos
Jessica Rey: The Evolution of the Swim Suit - a 9 minute talk where Jessica explains how bikinis were invented and popularized, and the results of a study done at Princeton University
Ascension Presents: Leah Darrow on Modesty - Leah Darrow, former contestant of America's Next Top Model, explains the Catholic approach to modesty and how it's about more than just fashion.

 

Guest author: Melissa

New to Taizé?

We'll be singing some Taizé music at camp...but what is Taizé?

The Taizé (pronounced like tay-zay) community is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, France, made up of 100+ brothers from Catholic and Protestant traditions. The songs are short phrases (usually lines from/inspired by Scripture) that we repeat over and over for contemplation/meditation. 

You can listen to our setlist on Spotify or YouTube:

Some songs are in Latin, so check out this helpful Latin pronunciation guide. It’s very similar to English, but here are some tips to note:

ae = eh (for example, prae => preh)
ti (when followed by a vowel) = tsee (for example, benedictio => ben-eh-dic-tsee-oh)
ui = ooh-ee
qu = (say it like it's English like "quote", not like Spanish like "quesadilla")

Taizé tends to be a favorite part of CACCLC for many — we hope you enjoy it!

Humans of CACCLC: Grace

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"After years of persistence by our Texas friend, Fr. Reuben Chen, I finally agreed to make the effort to come all the way to Cali for a promised epic weekend of faith, friends, and fun times at a retreat called CACCLC. My Labor Day weekend last year did not disappoint…to say the least. Who knew there was the biggest group of Chinese Catholics I had ever seen in California (of all places), who were not only interested in giving up their Labor Day weekend to go on retreat, but were absolutely on fire about our Catholic faith! This was the first retreat in a while where I could simply sit back and be a participant, and God knew this was exactly where I needed to be. I was blessed by the passion of all those around me with whom God helped reinvigorate my faith. I walked away knowing that in a day and age where Catholics seem to have to fight an ever-uphill battle, boldly being a witness for others can have a bigger impact than you think. So if you’re on the fence about going to CACCLC for the first time, the second time, or even the tenth time, don’t wait years and years like I did. Just do it, y’all.”

— Grace C, Houston, TX

Humans of CACCLC: Cecilia

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"When I was first invited to attend CACCLC in 2014, I thought, oh, this is probably just another one of those Catholic retreats that are boring, why would I want to go? Being quiet and shy around new people, I was reluctant to go because I always end up standing in the corner, alone and scared, but eventually, I gave in. One of the first things I learned was that a camp is very different from a retreat. There was a good mix of energy and serenity throughout the weekend, and I was greeted by friendly welcomes from Chinese Catholic campers at various stages in their faith. I was very touched by the amount of kindness these campers had towards new people and felt as if it was a reunion more than a “I just met these people a few days ago.” You never know who you’ll meet at camp and the experience you’ll get out of it, and I was very glad I decided to go. There has been no other place where I can be in this same environment, surrounded by other Chinese Catholics, and this is an something I will cherish and share with these friends for many years to come."

- Cecilia V, Alhambra