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!

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!


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).


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!