|April 25, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 8 • Oakland, CA|
Summer & Schools Camps Guide
Quo Vadis Camp will help men discern a vocation
A glance at the top of the "what to bring" list tells you this camp is more than a little different.
Also required on the application: your pastor's signature.
Young men between the ages 13-18 are invited to Quo Vadis Camp, July 10-13, dedicated to discerning their vocation and fostering their relationship with God.
The Diocese of Oakland held its first Quo Vadis — Latin for "Where are you going?" — last summer at the Youth Retreat Center in Lafayette. Its success is reflected in plans for this July.
Many of last year's 20 attendees had been invited to consider coming to the camp by priests in their parishes. A half-dozen of the campers came from St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo, invited by Rev. David Vela.
Those invitations are meaningful, said seminarians who assisted at the camp last summer. This is particularly true in the Latino community. "The faith isn't different," said seminarian Jose Morales, "but the families are."
The words, "Your son would make a good priest," spoken by a priest are powerful.
"It always has to come from the priest," Morales said.
Other parishes represented last summer included Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brentwood, St. Margaret Mary in Oakland, St. Edward in Newark, St. Michael in Livermore and St. Anthony in Oakley.
The three days include Mass and opportunity for reflection, with talks by priests and seminarians who share their vocation stories.
It's also an opportunity for the teens to talk about the priesthood to men closer to their own age. Among those last summer was seminarian Garrett Magowan. "There are a lot of young people who want to be priests," he said. "It's rare that they get a chance to meet a young person.
"It's easier to talk to a guy who likes Harleys, has tattoos and cracks jokes," said Magowan, who does all three.
While there is a spiritual aspect to the camp, there is also time for fun. There's a pool at the center, which sees its share of use. Last summer, team-building activities, directed by veteran youth minister and teacher Adam Chaffey, challenged the young men physically and mentally. Participants are also encouraged to bring to camp materials that would help them share a talent.
The growing teens were kept well fed last summer by teams of cooks from the Knights of Columbus, who used the center's outdoor grill area to turn out mass quantities of healthy, teen-friendly fare.
The Knights, too, were investing in the future. "If we want to see the church around for our grandkids, we have to do something," said Knight Joe Rivello.
While each camper is asked to pay $50 for the camp, the major portion of the camp is paid for by the annual vocations dinner sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
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