New Jersey Embarks on a Climbing Adventure to Build Community

On April 7-8, Saint Paul’s Outreach New Jersey teamed up with the People of Hope Formation District young adults and put on a camping and climbing trip in the Shawangunk Mountains in upstate New York. The weekend started with camping Friday night. The young adults enjoyed a campfire, snacks, and fellowship. The next morning the group traveled to the Shawangunk Mountain range to climb.

Paola Hegedus, a Junior at Seton Hall, shares her thoughts on the weekend:

What I enjoyed most was the real authentic community we all were able to have and just that time together. I had never climbed before, but I decided to give it a try. While I was climbing up the cliff, there was one point where I couldn’t make it up. But as soon I made it up, everyone started cheering and shouting. I felt so supported and really empowered for conquering the mountain with the support of the community.

One of the best parts of the trip was celebrating Mass on top of a mountain. Fr. Francis, part of the Community of Saint John at Seton Hall, celebrated Mass for the group. The beauty of the Lord literally surrounded us. The weather was perfect - blue skies and sunshine.

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During the homily, Fr. Francis described our Christian faith like the harness that holds a climber as they make their way up the cliff. Just as the support of a harness is essential in rock climbing, a strong faith relies on support - the support of a community of brothers and sisters for encouragement in difficult moments and celebration in times of joy and victory. But most of all, our faith relies on the support of Jesus Christ - our true harness - holding us securely as we embark on this adventure of life.

The weekend was one of fellowship, worship, and adventure. It’s success was in the bridging of two communities - college students from Saint Paul’s Outreach and young adults from the People of Hope Community in New Jersey. The groups were brought together by a love for Christ and the great outdoors.