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Vocations camp for Hispanic youths

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It takes time and prayer to discern one’s vocation. Surrounded by nature, prayer and the voices of others who are following God’s call to priesthood, Hunting Ridge Retreat in Winchester provided the backdrop for 24 high school boys to consider their own call July 14-18. 

For the second year in a row, Father Mauricio Pineda, parochial vicar at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, hosted Vocational Camp for Hispanic high school students to reflect on the possibility of their call to priesthood or religious life. The camp provides the opportunity to be in contact with diocesan priests and seminarians.

“Many of them are coming a second time and it is an indication to me that we are going in the right direction,” said Father Pineda. “The kinds of questions they are asking the seminarians are amazing.” 

Mike Argueta returned to Vocational Camp for the second time. “I thought it was important to come because I am still in the age where I am discerning what God is calling me to,” said Argueta. “It is beautiful to be here because you are away from what society thinks of you and I have learned that you are not supposed to care about what society thinks of you.”

Steven Pena came to the camp for the first time to discern his vocation. “I think I am going to come next year,” he said. “I would encourage others to come by saying Jesus has a purpose for you.” 

The camp is open to all Hispanic high school rising freshman through senior boys. Each day included Mass, presentations, time for confession, spiritual direction, hiking, reciting the rosary, an assembly, soccer games and other activities.

 spanish vocations for web

Hispanic high school students listen to a presentation during Vocational Camp. ELIZABETH A. ELLIOTT | CATHOLIC HERALD

Speakers throughout the week included Fathers Juan Puigbo, Kevin J. Dansereau and Will Nyce; seminarians Sam McIlheran, Daniel Rice, Guillermo Gonzalez and Antonio Perez. 

Father Pineda said the camp last year was only open to parishes in Prince William County. 

“Three or four parishes in the diocese with Spanish Masses are participating this year,” he said. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019