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Whoa! What an exhausting week! I just got back from the Diocese of Richmond’s Quo Vadis Camp, where forty young men from all over Virginia (including five from our own parish) spent four days playing sports, praying, and eating some great food with the seminarians and Vocations Team of the Diocese. What a week! We started off on the high ropes course at the University of Richmond, where all of us – priests, seminarians and campers – worked together high up in the air to walk these ridiculously wobbly and narrow high wires and obstacles. I was struck by how all of the participants, including me (the oldest seminarian in the diocese!), managed to overcome physical challenges, a desire to “go-it-alone,” the fear of falling, and excessive heat to work together to make it across the course.

These teenagers, so often stereotyped for bullying or being glued to their iPhones, lent helping hands and words of encouragement throughout the day. I can attest to several times when I thought, “This is it, now I’m gonna die!” and a kid would reach out his hand and help me across. And this attitude carried through for the rest of the week.

Our days included Mass, prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, talks, and small group time. Seeing so many young people deep in prayer, especially before the Lord in Adoration, gave me hope that good, holy vocations to the priesthood and married life will continue to flourish. Some of the most fun we had came as we played football, kickball, soccer, and ultimate frisbee (all in 95 degree heat!). It was an awesome time of recreation combined with serious prayer and amazing talks, all with the goal of growing in holiness, hearing God’s call in our lives, and understanding that we are not alone in this journey.

Even considering all the various fun activities and the amazing food we enjoyed, when asked, most of the guys said their favorite part of the entire week was Mass with the Bishop or Adoration and Confession. What a testament to the prayerfulness and seriousness of these young men!

Please pray that all of them may grow in holiness, find the quiet to hear God’s call, and have the courage to follow it, wherever it may lead.

Deacon Nick Redmond is a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Richmond, about to enter his sixth and final year of seminary formation at Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, he graduated from the University of Virginia and was a Spanish teacher in Charlottesville for ten years before entering seminary. His favorite Saint is Louis de Monfort and his favorite ice cream flavor is all of them.