Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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Quo Vadis Days vocations camp inspires young men
the Inland Register
(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
The Spokane Diocese hosted its ninth annual Quo Vadis Days vocations camp this year, attended by 37 young men from Idaho and Eastern Washington. (IR photo courtesy of SkEye Studios.)
“Where are you going?” This question is at the heart of “Quo Vadis Days,” a four-day camp experience designed to give young men the tools needed to answer that question and others like it, such as, “What is your will for my life, Lord? How can I know what is my destiny?”
In late June, 37 young men from Eastern Washington and northern Idaho participated in the Diocese of Spokane’s ninth annual Quo Vadis Days. This camp, organized and staffed almost entirely by Spokane seminarians and priests, first started in Portland by Msgr. John Cihak, and has since spread to dioceses around the country.
The camp gets its name from an ancient legend. During the first persecution of the Church, under the Emperor Nero, St. Peter was filled with fear and fled Rome. On his way out of the city, he encountered Jesus walking back into the city. Peter asked Him, “Quo vadis, Domine?” (“Where are you going, Lord?”) Jesus replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Strengthened by the presence of Jesus, Peter regained his courage and returned to Rome to fulfill his mission, where he was crowned with a glorious martyrdom.
“Discerning our vocation is at the same time vitally important, and incredibly difficult these days,” said Father Daniel Barnett, Director of Vocations and rector of Bishop White Seminary for the Diocese of Spokane. “Our vocation is an invitation to happiness. Yet in our world there is so much noise, so many distractions which make it hard to hear the voice of God. Young men need to learn how to hear and respond to the call of the Father.”
The camp consists of a wide variety of activities. Mass is celebrated every day, as well as Morning and Evening Prayer, and campers also participate in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and have the opportunity to go to confession. After talks on a variety of topics from Bishop Daly and other priests, small group discussions allow young men to wrestle with the information presented, ask questions, and interacting with diocesan seminarians and priests on a more informal basis.
And, of course, games. Capture the Flag and Ultimate Frisbee draw in almost everyone, while other team sports, along with swimming and fishing, allow the young men to build bonds of friendship which might well last a lifetime.
While most of the young men who attend Quo Vadis Days will not become priests, each year several of them express a desire to serve the Church as a priest, and are inspired to say, “Yes.” In the end, Quo Vadis Days seeks to make solid Catholic disciples. Whether the man decides to serve the Lord as priest, Religious, or laity, he will be better equipped to go wherever the Lord calls him. In the words of one young camper, “It’s an amazing experience, every time.”
Thanks to the generous donations of the Serra Clubs, the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters of America, the St. John Paul II Foundation, and a number of parishes and priests, the camp was offered free to campers.
More information can be found on the website: www.qvdays.org
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