Each year after Easter, scores of Oregon Latino Catholic youths convene in a space of friendship, prayer and coexistence.
Almost 200 young people from eight parishes gathered in late April at Aldersgate Camp near Turner for a weekend titled “Rise Up with Jesus.”
Viridiana Morales led the group from St. Anthony Parish in Tigard and said her favorite moment was Holy Hour. That’s when Deacon Felix Garcia told the group about how clay pots are strengthened in fire and that sometimes, trials make our lives new.
Morales, who shared photos and reflections from the weekend on Facebook, says many youths decided to forgive family and friends.
"I liked being able to meet other people who are in love with God, just like me,” she said.
On hand were members the Sisters of the Society of Mary who live in Corvallis. Morales called their enthusiasm “super contagious.”
Archbishop Alexander Sample celebrated a weekend Mass, telling youths that Easter celebrations go on long after the weekend is over.
Deacon Garcia, new coordinator of Hispanic ministry for the archdiocese, explained how important it is for young people to “go to a space where they can meet Jesus away from all the noise that society presents.”
Listening to God and following were strong themes.
“These young people will gradually take their role as apostles in the leadership of the church, " Deacon Garcia said. "The main goal is for them to return to their homes and parishes to witness to a new life in Jesus, motivated and filled with the Spirit of God and seeking to build a better world."