Participants in the Dec. 6-8 High School Discipleship Weekend take a picture break at CrossWoods Camp in Mason. In addition to talks, Mass, adoration, confession and small groups, teens enjoyed sledding, snowshoeing and ultimate Frisbee in 2-plus feet of snow. (Submitted photo)

Seventy people – youth and chaperones – took part in the first of two diocesan High School Discipleship Weekend at CrossWoods Camp, Dec. 6-8 in Mason.

The weekend’s theme was Theology of the Body and the main speaker was Minneapolis-based Jen Messing, founder and director of Into the Deep. Messing, who leads backpacking and camping Theology of the Body immersion experiences, gave four talks.

Chris Hurtubise, who works with diocesan youth and coordinated the retreat, shared his experience of the weekend:

“I got the sense that the teens they were just really grateful for the experience. They hunger and thirst for Catholic community, for Catholic sacramental life and for the fullness of Catholic teaching.

“Being a Catholic teenager is harder than ever these days – especially in our diocese, where there are no Catholic high schools. Many of our young people feel excluded because of their Catholic beliefs on things like sexual identity and morality.

“We hoped to equip them with a fuller understanding of the beauty and freedom that can be found in the Church’s teaching, but to also give them experiences to lean into – experiences with the Christ in the Sacraments and experiences with Christ in relationships with peers from their parishes and neighboring parishes.

“God came through in a big way, answering prayers and guiding us to a really fruitful weekend – meeting those goals and far more.”

The second of the two weekends, offered for youth in the Eastern regions of the diocese, will take place March 27-29 at Crescent Lake Bible Camp in Rhinelander.