Tis the season in which we reflect upon all the things we are thankful for. If you would like one extra thing to add to your list, sign up for our summer camp now! You won’t regret and it and trust us, God will give you many wonderful memories to be thankful for! Just check out all of the great times we’ve had in the past couple of years!
Check out our Forms Page for more information about camp and for the sign-up forms!
So I’m writing this as I pack up a bunch of my stuff to head off to the seminary in the morning to begin the new school year. What I want to do is write a little something every once in a while to keep you all up to date with what’s happening in the seminary this year. Not because I feel like you need to know every step I take, but because I think it’ll be good for us all to reflect on what it’s like to grow into a vocation. I’m not just going to wake up one day and be a priest, so I want to share with all of you in some way my journey, so that you can all see how big a part you play in it too.
I’ve spent three years in the Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation working on my college degree. But as I pack up my life yet again to head off to St. John Seminary for graduate school, it’s finally really beginning to hit me that this is a big step in my life and formation towards the priesthood. I just found myself thinking that if it were not for the tremendous graces heaped upon me by God this summer, I would not have been nearly as ready as I am now to continue on with this new school year. Certainly I would have continued on, but the boost in my prayer life that I’ve gained, the way I’ve fallen head over heels for Christ in the Eucharist like never before, and my renewed hope in the future of the Church have reaffirmed my vocation to priesthood. And I believe this has to do in great part with the experiences that have flowed out of the summer camp I got to spend with you all.
I’ve had my own overwhelming experiences in Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, but I’ve been almost just as affected by witnessing your own faith too. I just can’t stop thinking about how much love you are showing to Christ as He places Himself before us like that. To have your arms raised, reaching; to have your voices raised, singing; to have your hearts raised, surrendering; I feel like I’m in the presence of Christ’s Body like never before! Thank you for reminding me how to pray! It can be easy to let my praise of God be so subdued by those around me who are afraid to express themselves. One of the greatest gifts I’ve received this summer was to witness your fearlessness in praising God. Pray that I may not be afraid to lift up my arms, to sing, and to give all I have to God. Pray that the whole seminary is set on fire by faith this year!
So as I spend these last few hours of my summer reflecting on just how beautiful God is and the way He has set me back on fire through all of you, I can’t help but to rejoice in what my vocation means. I think a vocation first and foremost belongs to no one person. Sure, I’m the one studying to be a priest, but without those of you I’ve met this summer and without your prayers, it means so much less. I can barely express how much joy it brings me to tell you all that if I do indeed make it to ordination, you will all hold a very special place in getting me there. This also means that my vocation belongs almost as much to you as it does to me. So I ask you to pray for this vocation: for its protection, for its fruitfulness, and for constant thanksgiving that you are all a part of it. And may the hands of Mary protect us, make our actions fruitful, and constantly bring us closer to her Son, God’s Son, our Brother, our Lord.
My dog had been sick for a while. Before camp I knew it was bad, and I realized that after camp I may be coming back to some difficult times. That being said, camp was amazing, and God was preparing me so that the joy I felt during the happy times at camp would spill over to the not-so-happy times awaiting me at home. While sitting in adoration I began to read a book about joy, which I thought was fitting since “radiant joy” is the theme of Life Teen this year. The main point of the book was that happiness fades when trials arise, but joy endures all trials. And by trial I am referring to anything that challenges joy. This joy is happiness at camp and it is effortless. However true joy exists at all times, and even though camp may feel like home, like a taste of heaven, it is up to us as Christians to bring heaven down the mountain and share that joy with others who do not know it.
Right at the end of Life Night on Sunday I got a call from my mom saying that we had to put my dog down the next morning. Everything inside me flipped upside down. I was not expecting this so soon. My dog had been a faithful companion and friend to me since I was 6 years old! Now I had to say goodbye to this creature after 14 years together of pure joy. I ended up not going to see Spider Man in the theatres and went to spend some last hours with my best furry friend. I couldn’t help but think: he has no idea. He does not even know he is sick, and he just keeps being a peaceful, happy little animal. Maybe I had something to learn from him. My own ideal would be to remain just as joyful, as hopeful, during all the changes in my life; from the extremely happy, to the extremely challenging, suffering times. Now inadvertently, it was as if my dog’s situation challenged me to maintain the radiant joy from camp. And somewhere in his big, amber eyes, I was lost in the will of God, the Creator who said “Trust my plan in all things I give, and all things I take away.” This echoed throughout the week as my family celebrated the anniversary of my grandpa’s death and heavenly birthday. Together as a family, we were able to look at pictures together of my grandpa and our dog and share in all the memories we had with them. Instead of focusing on the losses of this week, I was challenged to revisit the joy of the life we shared together, and in that moment, the joy from the mountain and my life at home were the same.
For those who could not make it to Breakfast with the King this morning, a big announcement was made! Drum roll please…
We miss our brothers and sisters down at Divine Savior (and all of the other parishes) that we met at camp and so we are going to have a joint parish extravaganza! Next Wednesday, July 18th, St. Raphael’s Life Teen will be trekking down to LA for Mass, some fun on Olivera Street, and a BBQ, games, and worship back at Divine Savior!
If you’d like to join us, please see the flyer here or on the ‘Forms’ page and turn in your form no later than Sunday, July 15th. It doesn’t cost a thing! This is open to all of our teens, not just the ones who went to camp!
oremus pro invicem
…And over 1,000 of them is worth…well you can do the math.
Pictures from the Life Teen Camp 2012 are officially up! Click on the picture below to view them all.
oremus pro invicem
We’ve only been away from each other for a couple of hours but everyone is anxious to see one another again! We had a blessed time together and the Holy Spirit was really present all throughout camp!
To help remind us of our time, we’ll be posting videos and pictures throughout the next couple of weeks. Keep checking back in!
Camp Memory #1: Before the campers arrived, some of our Core members decide to sing a song…
Still wondering what you need to pack for camp? We get some help from Chet and friends as we enter the home stretch of our countdown. 3 more days everyone!
The drama…I mean the countdown to camp continues! We missed day 5 but we’re back on day 4 with an epic story and reminder as to why you need to bring a water bottle. Don’t let this happen to you at camp.
The countdown continues. On our 6th day until camp, Christie has a serious matter discuss with you all about what to bring to camp.
We only have one more week until camp! To help prepare for this epic event, we’ve called on the help of Lil’ Billy and the Packin’ Fairy. Check back every day before camp to see what you need to bring to camp!