From camp counselor to Catholic: Mother of Hope inspires young man on his journey in the faith

Diocesan day camp sees largest increase in registrations in more than 7 years


CHEPACHET — Summer is in full swing at Mother of Hope Camp, which began its seven-week season in June. The excitement for the 2021 season is unmistakable as the camp sees the highest number of registrations in years. For more than seven decades, thousands of children have experienced camp as a vibrant faith community through these fun-filled weeks.
“The community we foster in our Catholic summer camp is unlike any other traditional setting,” said Camp Director Michelle Ficocelli. “Mother of Hope provides young people of all faiths and backgrounds with the opportunity to grow physically, socially and spiritually in a Catholic Christian community under the guidance of a trained and caring staff.”
The camp offers a broad range of recreational, educational and spiritual activities. Through the many camp programs and the experience of nature, participants learn ways to build relationships of love and justice with God, others, and all of God’s creation.
“We strive to provide campers with experiences that help them grow closer to God, foster friendships and social development, foster the knowledge and development of life skills, develop an appreciation of nature through educational experiences and immersion in the natural environment.”
Camp counselor Nathan LaCroix, 22, who is in his fifth summer at Mother of Hope, personally knows the profound impact that camp can have. This has been a big year for LaCroix, who was confirmed and received his First Holy Communion during the Easter Vigil this past April, after completing the RCIA program with the Diocese of Providence.
He shared that his time at camp played a vital role in his desire to become a practicing Catholic.
“The compassion and genuine love that I received year after year from the staff and the feeling there was so much more that I was missing out on in terms of my spiritual life was palpable at times,” said LaCroix. “I do not know if I would be at the same point in my life if I had never applied or started working at Mother of Hope — and for that I am extremely grateful.”

LaCroix, now a parishioner at St. Mary’s on Broadway in Providence, shared that his experience going through RCIA was exactly what he was hoping for.
“Going through RCIA, I realized what I was missing my whole life up to this point, and although I wished I went through the process sooner, I am happy to have gone through it as an adult when I can fully appreciate everything I have learned and the relationship I have to Christ.”
His friends gave him the push that he needed to go and meet with a priest and start the process. He joined friends at Mass and shared that attending gave him an enthusiasm and a longing to receive the sacraments.
“I met with Father Ryan Simas from St. Joseph’s in Woonsocket on a bi-weekly basis; he was an incredible mentor and he made me feel right at home discussing personal matters and thoughts that I had been sitting on for years. The program touched upon topics and teachings that I had some basic knowledge of but wanted to know so much more, and he was able to clear up more than I could have ever thought possible.”
Being able to enjoy summers surrounded by fun-loving children alongside his best friends has been a blessing, said LaCroix. And this summer, he is bringing his love for God to camp on a whole new level.
“My enthusiasm for spreading the Word and showing His love through my words and actions will play into this being the best summer possible, and I hope I can make an impact on the kids and the staff just as they have for me since I started working at Mother of Hope.”
Donations to the annual Catholic Charity Appeal are vital to Mother of Hope Camp’s mission to provide young people of all faiths and backgrounds this day camp experience and enables the camp to offer a broad range of recreational, educational and faith-centered activities.
“Donations to the annual Catholic Charity Appeal directly help Mother of Hope Camp,” explained Ficocelli. “Without the Catholic Charity Fund there would be no camp. The subsidy is essential to providing for the facilities and staff that make the experiences so wonderful for our campers.”
And thanks to these donations, Mother of Hope is able to offer financial help to families who otherwise cannot afford to attend camp.
“This is one of the things I like best about our camp. Our faith community can give back to kids in need. I hope that our Catholic community will consider making a donation to the Catholic Charity Appeal at their church or directly by mail.”

As a 501(c)(3) agency, the camp works especially to help children of less fortunate families benefit from the many advantages of the Mother of Hope experience. For more information, including registration, sponsoring a camper or making a donation, visit www.motherofhopecamp.com.

If you are financially able, please consider making a donation online by visiting givecentral.org/2021CCA or by texting the word “Appeal” to 401-496-9889. Your gift will immediately make a positive impact in the lives of your neighbors in need.

Visit www.dioceseofprovidence.org/cca to see the good work of your donation to Catholic Charities in the diocese.


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