Our initiative first started near the end of 1977 by a group of young Chinese Catholics from Toronto and Windsor, with the help of Rev. Bob Seguin. It started off as a summer conference called the Eastern Canada Chinese Catholic Community Conference (the “ECCCLC”) with the intention to give young Chinese Catholics, especially students in Canada, an opportunity to get together for spiritual growth. The first ECCCLC was held at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. It was extremely successful and brought tremendous encouragement to young Catholics. It was then decided that ECCCC should be run every year. Since then, participants have come from many areas, including Waterloo, London, Kingston, Guelph, Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and Montreal, taking turns to share the administrative responsibilities.
In 1983, the name ECCCC was changed from a “Summer Conference” to “Living Camp”, which signifies – ‘daily living nature’ of our event – the importance for perseverance to live out our faith in our daily lives and reflects the livelier nature of the event to profess our faith.
Ever since 1977, ECCCLC has been an annual cross-parishes event created by youth for youth.
Pre 1990 ECCCLC Objectives
According to the old handbooks, the following set of objectives was used from 1978 (the 2nd Living Camp) until 1990 (the 14th Living Camp):
- To promote spiritual growth through dialectic and spiritual sharing
- To bring both Christians and non-Christians closer to God’s love and truth
- To contribute to an experience of a living Christian Community
The Organizing Committee
1991 was an important year in the course of ECCCLC history. Prior to 1991, ECCCLC was organized by one particular local community, which most of the time turned out to be either Toronto (Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish) or Montreal as they have better human resources. At the end of the 1990 ECCCLC, representatives from different communities gathered, trying to decide which parish should be responsible for organizing the 1991 ECCCLC. All local communities, including Toronto and Montreal, found it difficult to handle such a task as they were already occupied with other parish responsibilities.
Fr. Thomas Au, at that time, suggested a new way to organize ECCCLC. He proposed one single planning committee is to be formed by people joining voluntarily regardless of which community they belong to. His suggestion was well received. This system has then been used. Every year, participants in ECCCLC are asked to volunteer themselves to be organizers for the next ECCCLC. Those who take up the role of coordination would form the Organizing Committee. Those who are responsible to execute program would become members of the Working Team.
Post 1990 ECCCLC Objectives
From 1991 (the 16th Living Camp) till present, the ECCCLC objectives are to enrich Christian faith through:
- Spiritual sharing
- Community life
- Chinese culture