By Veronica Hamze and Daniel Galindo
JOMICLA is a Claretian group of young missionaries dedicated to service and mission. It is located in the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the city of Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. During the year it participates in various activities and one of those is the San Joaquin Martyrs Camp in Lagos de Moreno Jalisco.
For the group, the San Joaquin camp is one of the best experiences we have had. We have participated in it since 2012 taking several generations per year, it leaves a mark in our hearts.
Prior to the camp, a few months before traveling, we have a preparation during which we know the story of the three men who were martyred: José Trinidad Rangel (priest), André Solá i Molist (Claretian missionary) and Leonardo Pérez Larios (layman). They gave their lives for the greatest love that can exist. We prepare ourselves for the camp activities that we are assigned every year, putting our creativity and our talent, with much dedication and love, to share with all the young people of the Claretian communities of Mexico.
– During the VI San Joaquin Camp (2017), it was the group’s turn to organize the camp with the help of Fr. Jorge Vargas CMF. We organized several activities: the welcoming Eucharist, some dynamics, the Holy Hour and the rally. In the VIII camp (2019) we also had to organize, but it was for the North zone, that is, we participated in several cities: Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juarez and Torreon. This was one of the best experiences we had since we all came up with ideas to make it an unforgettable camp.
Our trip to the camp begins on a Friday night, where the songs can’t be missed and the joy of the young people is more alive than ever. Arriving at Cerro del Cubilete makes us excited because there we get to know the church, take pictures, sing, start meeting young people from the other groups and have the welcome mass. Arriving at San Joaquin excites us and setting up the tents is a challenge for all of us since most of us do not know how to do it. However, there, with help, laughter and games, we end up setting them up. We interact with young people, priests, missionaries in formation and other people and we share the service that we do in the different groups.
Throughout the Saturday there are different activities: dynamics that make us have a lot of fun and make us integrate, seeing us with our brothers and sisters, raising the atmosphere and the good mood that we feel among all of us. The Ranch family offers us food dishes that make us feel at home; giving thanks to God for the sacred food. Different themes are also carried out and, during the rest period, we take the opportunity to talk. Then we continue with the activities, taking advantage of the whole day.
The evening is one of the moments we like the most, we start with the “Talent Show”. JOMICLA prepares months in advance to present a dance that, between nerves and emotion, we present with much love. Then we see the other groups presenting their different talents. Between shouts and applause, this activity takes place, which makes us all happy.
At the end of the “Talent Show” we go to the Holy Hour: the personal encounter that each one of us has with the Lord; among tears and feelings, we fall in love with Jesus Christ and feel closer to him. We ended the night with a bonfire, where we continued singing, dancing, shouting, jumping and exhausting our energies; finally we went to sleep at dawn.
On Sunday, between sleep and wakefulness, we get up early with a megaphone and do the morning prayer thanking God for a new day. We start with lunch (= Mexican breakfast) offered by the family and continue with the day’s activities. The Rally is one of the ones we all enjoy: we form teams among all the youth communities and complete various challenges that we all enjoy, while the winning team receives a prize. Every year, we finish with the Eucharistic meeting of the Divine Mercy.
– The following years were a bit difficult: we were preparing for the 9th San Joaquin camp (2020), when everyone came to a standstill because of the covid-19 health emergency. We were sad because the camp was cancelled, but, thank God, Fr. Jorge and Edgar “Colocho” Salgado CMFF were able to pull off the camp in an original way. We did a virtual camp, different from what we were used to. However, as we have a Claretian spirit, we continued to vibrate in harmony and that flame was still burning. The X Camp (2021) was the tenth anniversary of the beginning of this journey. Again we had the virtual camp, but now we had the opportunity to gather in groups in an area where we could camp and feel as if we were in San Joaquin. Once again, the flame of the young people did not wait and with that spirit that we have, we made a camp full of joy and coexistence.
– For the XI San Joaquin Camp (2022) we were all excited. After two years of not seeing each other we had the opportunity to get together and share the joy that characterizes us as Claretian missionaries. There was a good atmosphere and, among shouts, we could hear “We are the young vineyard, burning with charity!” We had the opportunity to visit kilometer 491 of the train tracks where the three martyrs were shot. The coexistence among the young people was still alive and the activities were full of fellowship; they tested us mentally and emotionally. The vaquita cheer was heard every time a member made a mistake in the dynamics, the assembly of the campaign was a challenge since no one could assemble one alone, but with the help of everyone, between laughter and jokes and after two hours, we were able to raise them upright.
The choreography we put together was a challenge for many until, with commitment and dedication, everyone was able to dance it. For the Holy Hour we were accompanied by a starry sky of which we were all in awe. God blessed us with this panorama, which, in the company of the Blessed Sacrament, made us see a very moving scene: Jesus was in our company. At the time of the bonfire helped us to live together and dance different musical genres that the young people put on. That night is lived among songs and applause.
This year the camp was different since there was not much attendance. Even so, the love of God was felt in each one of the young people present and it was beautiful. We had the opportunity to talk and spend time with each of the participants, to learn about their experiences as missionaries and to realize that in this missionary life there are difficult moments and that we should not be discouraged because with God’s love everything is possible.
Throughout these years, all the camps have been different, since it is always the first time for many, and that is something beautiful to see. Little by little during these days you can see how young people from different parts of the country fall in love with God through this experience. In a few words, the camp for us is a moment of coexistence with other young people, but it is also the opportunity to fall in love with God; the opportunity to feel God in each one of the young people who with their love make you feel at home.
On this occasion we had the presence and participation of the prefect of the vocational youth ministry, Brother Carlos Verga CMF, who spoke to us about the Claret Way project and accompanied us throughout the camp. He also participated, played, danced, sang, went on pilgrimage with everyone and lived that spirit of joy that characterizes us as young people.
We thank Father Jorge and all those who participated so that this XI Camp could take place. Thanks to the kids of the MAR group from Leon, those from Guadalajara, CDMX and JOMICLA for making this meeting possible, which we look forward to every year. JOMICLA fulfilled its goal of going and living the experience of the martyrs of San Joaquin.
May 1, 2022.
Translated by DeepL
Revised by Mario Kevin R. Armijo CMF