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FIAT campers ‘made for greatness’

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Hosted by the diocesan Office of Vocations, FIAT Days is a five-day overnight camp for young women ages 13 -18 at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., July 14-18.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge started the week with Mass and a barbecue with the girls and their families.

During his homily, Bishop Burbidge said, “Dear young friends, the Lord placed an invitation in your heart to be with you this week, and like Mary, he wants your fiat, your ‘yes,’” he said. “You gave him your ‘yes’ — ‘Yes, Lord, I will spend this time with you.’”

Bishop Burbidge thanked the parents for the witness of their vocation and said the religious sisters in attendance are God’s instruments to speak to the hearts of the campers. He encouraged the campers to take a look at Mary and reflect on the words chosen, courageous, contemplative and compassion.


The camp’s theme, “Made for Greatness,” was taken from Pope Benedict XVI’s quote, “The world calls you to comfort, but you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.”

This week, campers will hear from a married couple on what holiness in marriage looks like and a religious sister on holiness as a religious vocation. And all along learn how to pray.

The 110 campers are accompanied by 18 religious sisters from nine orders, and 20 young women staffers.

Cecilia Engbert, who attended as a camper for three years in high school, is for the second year on staff.

“FIAT was the place where the real process of discernment began for me. Before going to the camp, I knew what discernment of vocations was and that I needed to be actively doing it in my life,” she said. “However, FIAT is where I actually learned how to do it.”

Engbert said she knows how scary the words vocation and discernment can be for young people. “FIAT acts as a prayerful and very fun way of overcoming whatever fear and anxiety may accompany the thought of discernment and that is why I have returned so many times,” she said. 

Joe and Lucille McLaughlin, parishioners of Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville, have had their daughters to FIAT for several years. This year, their daughters Theresa, Christine and Catherine are participating.

“It’s a wonderful program and a chance that we might be blessed with a vocation (in our family) is a wonderful thing,” said Joe. “There are not many dioceses that have a program like this.”

Lucille said the sisters are amazing and personable. “Any kind of misconception you might think of a nun as being stoic or austere is wrong,” she said. “They’re beautiful, warm, loving individuals.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019