Quo Vadis Days Fostering Vocations in Philadelphia

A recent article from CatholicPhilly.com about the Serra Club of the Philadelphia Archdiocese discusses the success of their annual Quo Vadis Days camp.

One of the most tangible ways the Serrans do this is by helping to fund the very successful Quo Vadis summer camp program conducted by the Vocation Office for the Diocesan Priesthood, which as Royal Brown, the president of the Serra Club of Philadelphia observed, has had over 100 participants for each of the past two years.

Since the Quo Vadis program will be the beneficiary it was appropriate that past attendees were present. One was Alexander Pancoast, who is in his sixth year and the first theology class at St. Charles.

He not only attended Quo Vadis before entrance, he has continued to do so every year since for a total of seven years, encouraging other young men to choose the priesthood.

Gabe Fairworth is not yet a seminarian but has been accepted for the next entrance class. He attended Quo Vadis twice and found it a chance to go deeper into his faith. “It was there I discerned and decided this is what I want to do,” he said.

Most of the increase is really the result of years of Quo Vadis Days and other programs, and continued follow-up that is being done by Vocations Director Father Stephen DeLacy, according to Bishop Senior.

Read the entire article here.

Knights’ support of vocation discernment programs assists youth in hearing God’s call

By Jennifer Reed

Knights’ support of vocation discernment programs assists youth in hearing God’s call

Father Raymond LaVoie, director of the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Office of Vocations, prepares campers for afternoon recreation, which includes football, Frisbee and a water balloon launch. (Photo by Chris Heisey)

By late June, school was not in session at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. However, the seminary’s Memorial Gym was abuzz as 90 young men chatted over lunch, and a dozen Knights went table to table making sure they had plenty to eat.

Here, early summer brings with it hot and humid days. But it also ushers in another climate: one of vocation discernment.

For the past decade, the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., has annually held the Quo Vadis Days discernment camp at the seminary. The five-day experience offers young men ages 15-25 a chance to listen to God’s call while immersed in a schedule of prayer, sports and recreation, and presentations from priests and seminarians.

“This time gives me a chance to listen to where God wants me to go with my life,” said first-time participant Joseph Tokar, 19, a member of Monsignor George V. Lentocha Council 3501 in Middletown, Pa.

“I want to keep myself open to the possibility of the priesthood and look for where God wants me to be,” added Tokar, who will head to St. Joseph University in Philadelphia in the fall.

First launched in the Archdiocese of Portland in the Jubilee Year 2000, Quo Vadis Days discernment camps have expanded to dioceses throughout the United States. In many cases, local K of C councils have supported the program and similar discernment initiatives, helping to provide young men and women opportunities to explore and potentially embrace a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.


Continue reading the full article from Columbia Magazine at the Knights of Columbus website.

Trading cleats for collar – College football player to tackle priesthood

By Gretchen R. Crowe
Arlington Catholic Herald (www.catholicherald.com)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Arlington Catholic Herald) – During his college career, seminarian Ben Kessler has always been up on the latest priest jokes. That’s because the 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound 21-year-old spent the last four fall semesters not only studying the gospels, but also studying playbook Xs and Os while starring as a defensive end for the football team at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

He attends St. John Vianney College Seminary on the university’s campus and also takes classes at the university. He is studying to be a priest of the Diocese of Madison, Wis.

Kessler was at Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria Feb. 4 to discuss the relationship between his two great loves, God and football, which he said many consider to be polar opposites.

“The stereotypical seminarian is seen maybe as a nerdy guy, real calm, real giving,” Kessler said, “whereas a football player is seen as ‘in your face’ – a dumb jock.”

But Kessler argued that the two professions have much in common. He said there was a “fraternal aspect” – men sharing a bond together – that rings true for both seminarians and football players, and that the two groups of men are both “changing the world.”

“Putting the two together creates a better person,” he said. (more…)

Quo Vadis Days vocations camp offers discernment in an outdoor setting

(From the April 17, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

More than 40 young men from dioceses throughout the Northwest attended the Quo Vadis Days vocations camp last year. This year’s camp is scheduled for June 16-19. (IR photo courtesy of Father Jeff Lewis)

The Spokane Diocese’s seventh annual Quo Vadis Days (QVD) is gearing up, scheduled for Monday, June 16-Thursday, June 19. QVD returns this year to Ross Point Camp and Conference Center in Post Falls, Idaho.

Young men in the diocese are invited to attend and discern their possible vocation to the priesthood.

This year’s camp director is Father Jeff Lewis, pastor of the parishes in Chewelah, Springdale, and Valley. Joining him is Father Miguel Mejia, pastor of St. Rose of Lima in Cheney, and Father Caleb Vogel, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Boise.

Quo Vadis Days (QVD) offers a unique summer camp opportunity for high school boys to consider the priesthood. The camp schedule is structured with activities that focus on vocation and discernment, including daily Mass, Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, conference talks and presentations by priests of the Spokane Diocese, and small-group discussion sessions. The talks and presentations cover subjects pertaining to vocation, discernment, prayer and spirituality, and other related topics.

In addition to discernment-related camp activities, there are plenty of opportunities for recreation: Frisbee, soccer, swimming, and other sports and games.

In the six years since QVD began in the Spokane Diocese, it has emerged as a crucial component of vocations promotion. Last year’s camp welcomed 44 young men. Expectation is that this year’s event will equal or better that number.

The primary goal of QVD is to assist young men in discerning their vocation, as well as grow in fraternity with their brothers in Christ throughout the diocese. No matter what their vocation ends up being, the young men who attend QVD will experience a great way of growing into more faithful and mature Catholic men.

In past years, QVD has hosted boys from the Dioceses of Spokane, Yakima, Boise, and Baker, as well as the Archdiocese of Seattle. This summer promises to continue that trend.


Continue reading at the Diocese of Spokane website.

Would-be pro golfer on path to priesthood

It’s easy to imagine a six-foot, tanned, 32-year-old Peter Hannah on the golf greens of Monterey, California, in textbook form, languidly driving balls 300 yards.

But instead of an Izod shirt and khaki pants, he’s wearing the long, white habit of a medieval Dominican friar – and he’s heading into winter in Alaska. He arrived in August from St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland for a year’s work at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska, as part of seminary training.

“My first reaction to being assigned to Anchorage was, ‘Wow, that’s a long ways away from California,” Brother Peter Junipero Hannah told the Catholic Anchor.

But the would-be professional golfer, former college fraternity brother and convert to Catholicism already has traveled a long distance – through even the spiritual “desert” of the so-called “good life” – on the surprising path to freedom.

Read the entire article here.

Top A’s prospect enters priesthood

From ESPN.com:

As a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Grant Desme might’ve gotten the call every minor leaguer wants this spring.

Instead, he believed he had another, higher calling.

Desme announced Friday that he was leaving baseball to enter the priesthood, walking away after a breakout season in which he became MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

“I was doing well at ball. But I really had to get down to the bottom of things,” the 23-year-old Desme said. “I wasn’t at peace with where I was at.”

A lifelong Catholic, Desme thought about becoming a priest for about a year and a half. He kept his path quiet within the sports world, and his plan to enter a seminary this summer startled the A’s when he told them Thursday night.

General manager Billy Beane “was understanding and supportive,” Desme said, but the decision “sort of knocked him off his horse.” After the talk, Desme felt “a great amount of peace.”

“I love the game, but I aspire to higher things,” he said. “I know I have no regrets.”

Read the entire store here.