Cathoilc Sentinel photos by Jon DeBellis
Archbishop Alexander Sample speaks to campers at Quo Vadis Days.
Cathoilc Sentinel photos by Jon DeBellis
Archbishop Alexander Sample speaks to campers at Quo Vadis Days.
CORBETT — Seventy young men from Western Oregon parishes gathered Monday through Thursday at CYO/Camp Howard to learn more about the Catholic faith and to discern whether they are open in their own lives to a call to a vocation to the priesthood.

The annual Quo Vadis Days camp, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Portland's Vocations Office, began in southern Oregon, and is now hosted at Camp Howard outside Portland. The camp gets its name from an old legend of Peter. The apostle, having been persuaded to flee Rome, encountered Jesus on the Appian Way. "Quo Vadis, Domine?" ("Where are you going, Master?") he asked him.

Christ replied, "To Rome, to be crucified anew."

Peter turned around and returned to Rome, where he was later martyred.

Between playing sports, going on hikes in the forested camp above the Bull Run watershed, group discussions and time for prayer,  the young fellows listened to their new archbishop as he described how he came to be ordained a priest years ago and his dedication ever since to Mary.

Mass was celebrated the final day by Archbishop Alexander Sample in St. Virginia chapel while a steady rain fell outside; weather was clear for three days beforehand.

“The church has to help shape society for the common good," the archbishop told the group, ages 13-18,  in the drafty, unheated chapel before the final lunch on Thursday.

For Andrew Cutler, a 17-year-old from Sacred Heart Parish in Medford, this year's gathering marked the fourth consecutive year he attended. He is definitely thinking about a vocation to the priesthood, he said.

He described the fit, 53-year-old archbishop with bike carrier and ski holders on his Jeep Cherokee, as a “cool guy."

Blake Applegate led a pickup choir in chant during the Mass.

During the closing Mass, the archbishop referred to the teens as “my young brothers."

“The gospel today asks us to decide what foundation we will build our lives on," he told the teens.
“Whatever you do—priesthood, married life, the single state—the Lord is asking what will be your foundation."

He said it is not too early for them to think abut that question and urged the young men to build their life's foundation on the rock of Christ, a solid foundation of faith on which they can all follow Jesus.

“It's not enough just to listen to the word of the Lord," the archbishop told the teens. “We must put that into practice because you are being called to live forever with God."

Seminarian Jerome Jay , a fourth year philosophy student at Mount Angel Seminary, helped priests, deacons and laypeople with the boys.