Seventh annual Quo Vadis Days invites young men to think, relax and enjoy

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor
davejolivet@anchornews.org

MEDWAY, Mass. — About an hour north of Fall River, and just about the same distance from the peaceful, yet rugged New Hampshire mountains, lies an area where countless men, women, girls and boys have found tranquility and time to actually think amidst the mind clutter of everyday life.

Betania II Retreat Center in Medway will be the site of the seventh annual Quo Vadis Days retreat for young men ages 14-18 from July 5-9, allowing them time and opportunity to reflect and interact with peers, priests, seminarians and others who have realized in their lives, the joy that can only come from a relationship with Christ. The retreat is sponsored by the Fall River diocesan Vocations Office.

The five-day retreat is a time of recreation, fellowship, prayer and discussion to help young men listen for the sometimes quiet whisper of God calling them to come to know and serve Him in a particular way.

Sharing in the Eucharist at Mass, spending time with the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, and praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary are but a few of the moments that make up the retreat.

But, just as Jesus wasn’t one-dimensional in His earthly ministry, so too isn’t Quo Vadis Days. There is also time for hiking in the mountains; swimming; flag football, the real football, soccer; and ultimate Frisbee.

Juan Carlos Munoz, originally from Colombia, a seminarian from the Diocese of Fall River, who will be entering his third year of Theology at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, and who is currently assigned to Holy Name Parish in Fall River for the summer, was part of last year’s Quo Vadis team and will again be this year.

“I was so touched by the young men who attended last year,” Munoz told The Anchor. “They had such energy and a love for God, and a commitment to God, viewing Him with reverence and respect and seriousness.”

Munoz continued, “It’s important for young men to experience something like this because some don’t receive information about God from the outside world. It’s an opportunity for them to think more — not just about the priesthood, but about married life or other vocations and having God as part of their lives.

“It’s also a time for fun and bonding. Some come with reservations. I, too, came with some reservations — they are young, I am old; they play football (American) and I have no idea what that’s about; and I am from another country. But through the hiking, and fun and prayer, a unity is built during the five days.”

Another seminarian, Ryan Healy, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Parish in North Attleboro, and attending Our Lady of Providence Seminary in North Providence, R.I., was on Quo Vadis teams in 2013 and 2015. He told The Anchor, “The week-long retreat is something that I have always looked forward to and has given me great hope for future vocations in the diocese. The vocation crisis can often be very disheartening but meeting the many retreatants who are open to doing the Lord’s will, instills great hope in me. It offers a chance for the seminarians to meet and talk with guys who are considering a vocation from our own home diocese, making it even more special.”

Like Munoz, Healy noticed a transformation in some of the candidates over the course of the retreat. “I did often notice a change in some of the young men who were there for their first time. The talks from the priests and seminarians as well as Mass and times of prayer gave them new reflections and considerations as to what God was calling them to do with their lives and whether they’d be open to the priesthood. 

“They always had a lot of fun playing sports and games as they got to know all of the guys on the retreat as the week progressed. Leaving the retreat, many are prepared to go and live their faith more devoutly at home and discern their vocation after the very inspirational week.”

The five-day encounter also includes prayer and discussion and talks from priests and seminarians, providing Spiritual guidance and fraternity.

One former candidate, Joe Cavanaugh, participated in the Quo Vadis Days more than once. “Quo Vadis helped me to grow and get a better understanding about my faith and I was able to make friends with other young men from the diocese,” he told The Anchor. “I have been on this retreat the past three years and would recommend this trip to others because it provides an opportunity to pray and have fun. Some of my favorite moments were hiking Mount Monadnock and playing soccer with Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.”

Healy highly recommends the retreat to young men who are looking to the future. “This retreat is of immense importance for our diocese since it effectively reaches many young men and encourages them to answer a call to the priesthood. The Vocations Office has the great responsibility of empowering young men in our diocese whom God is calling to lead the Church, with the Quo Vadis retreat being a large part of this outreach. It is also very important for the participants in that it allows high-schoolers to meet other like-minded teens, to share fraternity, and to know that they are not alone in considering a religious vocation.”

“Some candidates are thinking about the priesthood, and the retreat gives them time to think more about it,” said Munoz. “But others may be leaning toward married life and raising a family. We are not there to tell them what to do, but to help them think more deeply about it, and to realize how important it is to have God as a part of their lives no matter what. People are so busy, that God often gets put out of the picture. Everyone is called by God in their own way. We are just trying to help them keep God in their lives, their futures and their homes.”

For more information about attending this year’s Quo Vadis Days contact Father Kevin Cook at 508-824-5707 or email frcook@holyfamilytaunton.org


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