New High School Discernment Groups Launch in the Diocese

December 10, 2022

Photo above: Fr. David Gaines (center) leads a discussion group at the 2022 Quo Vadis Days (QVD22) discernment camp for high school boys. New discernment groups build on the interest in vocations in part generated by Quo Vadis Days.

By Office of Vocations

During this past Fall, the Office of Vocations launched two new small groups for high school boys interested in taking a closer look at the priesthood. Director of Vocations Fr. Kyle Ratuiste is leading one group, and Spokane priest Fr. David Gaines is spearheading the other. Father Gaines is the parish administrator of the three churches in Oakesdale, Tekoa, and Rockford. These groups are serving about twenty-two young men in Spokane and across the diocese.

Both groups help address a need for young men in high school to have more consistent, communal opportunities to learn more about discernment and the priesthood. This builds upon the success of the annual Quo Vadis Days discernment camps hosted by the Office of Vocations for high school boys since 2008. Many of the current discernment group participants also attended Quo Vadis Days. These groups both utilize the Melchizedek Project as a basis for solid content on priestly discernment. Beyond the sharing of reliable and useful information, these groups provide a setting for young men to interact with priests and strive for holiness with their peers in a fraternal setting.

While similar in purpose, the groups have been structured differently to take advantage of unique opportunities to reach out to these high schoolers.

Father Ratuiste received a clear opportunity to start an in-person discernment group. He had already been asked to offer Mass weekly at the Chesterton Academy of Notre Dame, the classical Catholic high school located in North Spokane. Since the school Mass took place immediately before lunch, it only required a few additional arrangements to set aside a classroom to use as a meeting space during the lunch period. A significant number of Quo Vadis Days participants have been Chesterton students, and the school helped Fr. Ratuiste extend an invitation to other boys in the student body.

Father Gaines started an online group when he noticed the how several families he kept in touch with from previous parish assignments were looking for active outlets for their sons to consider their vocations beyond the annual Quo Vadis Days camps. Father Gaines worked with Father Ratuiste to identify other high school boys across the diocese who may be interested in this offering. Trying to establish an online group that fosters fraternity is always an experiment. This groups seems to have hit its stride by settling on having its main meetings on a monthly basis while offering shorter weekly meetings for check-ins and participation in Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.