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Quo Vadis Days 2024 cultivates sonship as primary vocation

July 1, 2024

LOON LAKE, WA— On the last cool days of early summer, high school-aged young men from across eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and eastern Oregon gather on the shores of Deer Lake for a week-long retreat: Quo Vadis Days, hosted by the Diocese of Spokane Office of Vocations.

Quo Vadis Days has become a mainstay at many dioceses across the country. It is often a weekend or more of a retreat emphasizing the discernment of one’s vocation with priests and religious present to share their experiences. There is always an ample amount of prayer and participation in Sacraments, with fellowship and fun mixed in.

A strong emphasis on the priesthood would be the evident focus for a gathering like this, especially when there is a great need for more priests in our Church. While the Diocese of Spokane installment of Quo Vadis Days does indeed have a time of focus on the vocation to the priesthood, this year’s camp focused on the primary vocation: that all men are called to live as beloved sons of God the Father—from which vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, or marriage all flow.

This year’s theme, titled Follow Me, echoes that primary vocation: to live in a relationship with God the Father and follow Jesus Christ as His disciple. Although this theme aligns with several verses in scripture, it is chiefly supported by Matthew 4:19, in which Jesus calls the disciples, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Seminarian Nathan Loe gives a talk at Quo Vadis Days 2024.

Quo Vadis Days began June 25 and ended June 28, with 54 young men in attendance. Bishop Thomas Daly visited the camp on day one and gave the first talk on the “Views of God.” He spoke about how one’s relationship with their earthly Father can be the lens through which they view God the Father, for better or worse. He also discussed how the secular culture attempts to confuse and dissolve the image of masculinity, which can affect the way one views God and oneself as a young man. The bishop later celebrated the Holy Mass with the young men in the chapel, where he preached on the Gospel.

 

In the following days, the Spokane seminarians taught the young men to pray with Scripture through Lectio Divina. They also learned how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and Ignatian prayer, specifically the Examen. The bishop, Spokane priests and seminarians, and married men gave five talks throughout the week.

The young men learned practicals on prayer, building good habits (and breaking bad ones), living in the love of the Father, masculine holiness and living the cardinal virtues. They shared meals together in small groups, and after dinner, they practiced virtuous competition at rec time through gaga ball, capture the flag, ultimate frisbee and board games.

Fr. Kyle Ratuiste keeps time while campers compete in a card game at Quo Vadis Days 2024.

By the end of the week, the young men were tired and ready to return to their families. The hope for each of them was simple: to understand who God the Father is and that He wants to live in a loving relationship with each of them. They were given the prayerful tools to communicate with Him and newly made friends to run with toward Christ. From that baseline understanding of the universal vocation to holiness, they may more clearly hear the Lord’s call for them.

To read more stories about vocations in the Diocese of Spokane, consider signing up for Many Fruitful Harvests, the Diocese of Spokane Office of Vocations newsletter.