By Colleen Rowan
HUTTONSVILLE—The coronavirus pandemic has brought the cancellation of on-site programs annually held in June at Mary, Help of Christians Pastoral Center in Huttonsville.
Cancelled are Manus Christi, a service and mission program operated by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Office of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry, and two parish youth camps—one for St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wheeling, and another for Blessed Sacrament Parish in South Charleston.
No announcement has been made on July programming at the pastoral center, including Camp Bosco. Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry Interim Director Shawn Madden said they are waiting on the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for residential camps for this summer.
“Once they have made their recommendations the American Camp Association will use a team of camp experts, virologists, camp health professionals, etc., to turn the recommendations into best practices on how camps can function within the CDC guidelines,” Madden said. “We are eagerly awaiting this information so that it can inform our plans for the summer. As we wait, we continue to plan and prepare in the hopeful anticipation of an amazing summer 2020 for Camp Bosco.”
Madden said a decision on July will be made by mid May.
In a recent letter to Camp Bosco families, Madden recommend they reserve their preferred session as soon as possible and, in the event of camp being cancelled, payments will be fully refunded.
In a letter to registrants announcing the decision to cancel Manus Christi in June, Madden said it was a hard decision but one they were ultimately led to because of their ongoing commitment for Manus Christi to be a program focusing on love and service. Manus Christi participants conduct home repairs and other outreach projects for those in need.
“Bringing together young people from several states,” Madden wrote, “having a staff that is contiguous through all weeks adding cross-contamination potential, having a full retreat center meaning much close contact, and exposing the families we serve, many of whom are in at-risk categories, to our germs, and being exposed to their germs is simply too many challenges to be certain we’ll be able to overcome…”
Madden and staff are in conversations with some of the groups to host them at another time as individual groups who will still serve the people in the area through Catholic Charities West Virginia.
“This was to be our largest summer of Manus Christi yet,” he said, “with people from around the country coming to Randolph County to serve twice as many residents as in past years.”
In addition to groups rescheduling for later, he said, some of the registration money has also been sent to the local arm of Catholic Charities West Virginia at the request of the registrant.
Madden and staff will also be in conversation with St. Vincent’s and Blessed Sacrament parishes as well.
Updates on the status of Camp Bosco and more information can be found at www.youngwv catholics.com
On-Site Programs in June at Huttonsville’s Pastoral Center Cancelled
By Colleen Rowan