WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Nelson’s Faith and Light camp


Judith McInerney
5 April 2012

Some 30 members of the Nelson Faith and Light Community spent a warm February weekend at the Bridge Valley Adventure Centre, Wakefield, for the annual camp.

The peaceful setting in the rolling hills reflected the weekend’s theme – ‘Messengers of Love’. During the weekend we remembered a special messenger of love, Helen Coleman, who died last November.

We spent the weekend singing joyful songs such as ‘Do you hear what I hear’ and ‘Happy Feet’. As one member described it ‘Beautiful voices, as good as the angels’.

We also painted conference bags and made flowers.

Saturday ended with a dance led by Bruce Hamilton on piano and saxophonist Maurice Abrahams who have freely supported our camps over many years.

Sarah Clover, the wife of the Methodist Minister at Stoke, spoke on ‘The enormity of God’s love for us’, while she blew bubbles which kept on coming as does God’s love.

Stoke parish priest and chaplain Fr Maurice Carmody joined us on Sunday. National coordinator Mary DeLeijer and her husband, Jos, also came along with Adele Beattie from Christchurch.

Faith and Light brings together people with an intellectual disability, family and friends. We believe that each person with a disability is fully a person who has a unique and sacred value.

Faith and Light began at Easter 1971. A young French couple barred from a parish pilgrimage to Lourdes because their two sons had severe intellectual disability, shared their pain with L’Arche founder Jean Vanier and Marie-Helene Mathieu. They organised a pilgrimage to Lourdes just for people with intellectual disability, their family and friends. Some 12 000 people from 18 countries gathered in Lourdes for three days of amazing joy and support.

Forty years later Faith and Light has around 1477 communities throughout the world, 10 of them in Aotearoa New Zealand.