Catholic U.S. Military Families Spend Holiday Weekend on Retreat

Catholic U.S. Military Families Spend Holiday Weekend on Retreat October 11, 2023

DAHLONEGA, GA — More than 20 U.S. Military families spent part of the Columbus Day weekend on the tranquil shores of Camp Hidden Lake in northern Georgia, engaged in outdoor fun, prayer, reflection, dialogue, fellowship, and celebration of the Eucharist. The families took part in a Catholic Military Family Camp co-sponsored by the Evangelization Office of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), and Life Teen, a Eucharist-centered movement and non-profit organization, founded in 1985, to lead teenagers and their families into a deeper relationship with Christ and His Church. Life Teen is focused in particular on providing meaningful Catholic teaching and youth ministry for young people in middle school through high school. The goal of Life Teen, according to its website at, “is to provide a safe and fun place for youth to find a solid Catholic community, get answers to their questions, and, most importantly, to experience Jesus in a profound and personal way.”

Camp Hidden Lake in Dahlonega, GA, owned and operated by Life Teen, is a retreat spot where parish youth groups from all over the country come together for a quality camping experience in a safe, secluded setting, complete with dormitories, meeting spaces, and activity stations such as a climbing wall and high-ropes koala course. Twenty-two military families participated in the Oct. 6-8 Catholic Military Family Camp, including 10 from the Air Force, nine from the Army, one from the Space Force, one from the Marines, and one from the Navy. Life Teen missionaries facilitated activities such as canoeing and hiking under the theme, “Real Presence”—the belief that Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of consecrated bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist. Dr. Mark Moitoza, Th.D., D. Min., AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, said military families can especially benefit from leisure time together in a rustic environment exploring and celebrating their Catholic faith. “The tempo of family life can be busy,” he said. “Responsibilities in the military contribute additional demands. Finding time to focus on family in the midst of varied schedules is essential.” Dr. Moitoza is one of two speakers who gave presentations at the Catholic Military Family Camp. Life Teen President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Randy Raus spoke to the group on Saturday evening; Dr. Moitoza spoke before a closing Mass on Sunday morning. Dr. Moitoza said the timing of the holiday weekend camp coincides with larger discussions now taking place in the Church at large. “The Church, through the Synod, is exploring how we walk together in the journey of faith,” he said. “This is a key question for families too. Focused on the Real Presence of Jesus in Eucharist, families in the military are reminded that in times of struggle and in times of joy the Lord is always close to them. This is a needed reminder for those serving far from home and their relatives. Taking time to recall the importance of the commitment to daily prayer and participation in the life of the Church reinvigorates the dynamic of family life.” The Catholic Military Family Camp was funded by a combination of charitable gifts from Life Teen donors and a registration fee charged to each participating family. The registration fee was $150 per family, regardless of family size. The funding covered meals, all activities, and lodging for the weekend. The hope is, the AMS and Life Teen will make the Catholic Military Family Camp a recurring event, but Dr. Moitoza said much will depend on whether sufficient donor support can be found to continue the initiative. For more information contact the AMS Office of Evangelization at (202) 719-3600 or visit This information was provided by the Archdiocese for Military Services. Learn more at
"Excellent presentation. I have found that what matters most is the "posture" of the heart ..."

A Matter Of The Heart
"I agree with you 100%. The bishops have instructed everyone to receive on the hand ..."

A Matter Of The Heart
"After seeing exactly how screwed up Christian Conservatives are, worshipping a man that is immorral. ..."

You Are With Jesus Or With ..."
"Jesus or Beelzebul? I'll take curtain three, thank you. I don't DO Fear religions."

You Are With Jesus Or With ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!