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Passing the torch

First slide

While growing up, I was blessed to have a number of priests in my life to interact with, but I did not have many opportunities to interact with many seminarians. It wasn’t until high school that I first got to interact with a seminarian who was stationed at my parish for the summer. It was surprising to see a young man studying for the priesthood, and his example helped me realize that the priesthood is a calling that can be answered at a young age.

It was right around this time, in 2006, that then Vocations Director Father Brian Bashista was starting Quo Vadis Camp, designed to give high school boys the opportunity to discern who God is calling them to be as they look toward their future as Catholic men. Not only does it offer the awesome opportunity for sports and fellowship with the other campers, what makes it truly unique is the camaraderie with the diocesan seminarians who run the camp, while learning what it means to discern God’s will.

Though I was never able to attend Quo Vadis Camp as a camper, in college Father Bashista invited me to serve as a staff member alongside the seminarians.

For the first time I spent time interacting with seminarians while playing sports, eating meals with them and sharing stories of our lives. It was such a joy to be among men also searching for God’s will in their lives and open to the possibility of being a priest. In addition, these seminarians had a deep devotion to Our Lord in prayer, and they made the life of a priest more visible for me as a young college student. In this way, their example helped me discern God’s will at Quo Vadis even though I was not a high school participant.

Now as a seminarian in the middle of my formation, I shared my experiences of discernment with the campers at Quo Vadis this summer. This unique opportunity for young men to meet and interact with seminarians is a blessing for our diocese, and it provides a special way for men to discern God’s will in their lives. While it can be very easy to constantly ask God what he wants me to do in this life, Quo Vaids helped me ask God, “Who do you want me to be in this life?” When we begin to ask Jesus this question, we can begin to discern his will properly.


Briggs, from St. John the Baptist Church  in Front Royal, is entering his second year of theology studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019