A weekend in Camden to deepen spiritual bonds

A weekend in Camden to deepen spiritual bonds


Young adults reflect on and share their experiences at the Romero Center in Camden on the weekend of Friday, April 15- Sunday, April 17, during a retreat on learning how to live “A Passionate Life: Deepening Relationships With God, Yourself, & Others.” Thirty retreatants from the Diocese of Camden came together in prayer and service for the retreat, which culminated with a Mass of the Lord’s Passion on Sunday at St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral.


CAMDEN — Thirty young adults came together the weekend of April 15-17 to share their faith, talents and experiences with each other at the Romero Center in Camden, on a retreat called “A Passionate Life: Deepening Relationships with God, Yourself, & Others.”

On Friday night, the young adults heard a presentation from Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS, who shared his artwork and reflected on the passion of Jesus, and how Jesus’ crucifixion can teach Catholics to give more of themselves and their love to God and others, including the impoverished of Camden City.

The next day, Saturday, the retreatants put Brother Mickey’s words into practice, performing works of service in the area, including cleaning up needles, glass and other trash in an alleyway of North Camden; serving soup and bread to the homeless at St. Bartholomew Church’s Soup Kitchen in Camden; and bringing comfort to the senior citizen residents of Genesis Healthcare Center in Cherry Hill.

Later that day, after reflecting on their day of service, the group heard from couple Richard and Kristen Nalen, who spent two and a half years in Bolivia as part of the Franciscan Mission Service, serving the poor as advocates for peace and justice.

Richard is an employee of the Romero Center, working as Urban Challenge Associate, and Kristen works at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Cramer Hill section of Camden, in Hispanic Ministry and the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Ministry.

On Sunday, the young adults capped off the transformative experience with the Mass of the Lord’s Passion at the adjacent St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, concelebrated by Msgr. Robert McDermott and Father Joel Arciga Camarillo.

“We were blessed with the opportunity to experience a sense of community,” said Andres Arango, director of Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Camden.

“We found Jesus in the people and streets of Camden, and deepened our relationships with God, ourselves, and others,” he said.

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