June 21, 2013

Bishop Bruté Days brings together young men considering priesthood

John Paul Cole, left, and Alex Jackson, participants in the Bishop Bruté Days vocations camp, carry torches during a eucharistic procession on June 12. (Photos by Charles Peñalosa)

John Paul Cole, left, and Alex Jackson, participants in the Bishop Bruté Days vocations camp, carry torches during a eucharistic procession on June 12. (Photos by Charles Peñalosa)

By Mike Krokos

It started for Nick McKinley six summers ago.

The then junior high school student decided to attend Bishop Bruté Days, a camp that allows teenagers considering priestly vocations to spend time among like-minded peers.

Nick liked the faith-based experience so much he came back the following year.

And in 2010. And in 2011. And in 2012. And again this year.

“It’s a great program to just really connect with your faith, and really develop a relationship with God,” Nick said, “and just ask him what he wants me to do with my life.

“I’ve always found it very profound and helpful,” added Nick, a member of St. Christopher Parish and 2013 graduate of Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School, both in Indianapolis.

This year, the 19-year-old served as a seminarian counselor to assist the approximately 40 young men in junior high and high school who took part in the eighth annual camp, which was held on the campus of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis for the first time on June 10-13.

Nick, who will be a freshman at the college seminary this fall, is excited to begin his formation to the priesthood.

“I’m very happy to finally come here,” he said.

The soon-to-be college seminarian said the time spent attending Bishop Bruté Days helped him grow in his life of faith.

“[I really liked] the deep sense of prayer that everyone maintains, and there’s a brotherhood that develops,” Nick said. “It’s a close bond that helps you grow not only with yourself but with a community.”

During Bishop Bruté Days, archdiocesan priests, transitional deacons and seminarians gave presentations on the faith. Priests celebrated Mass each day and heard confessions. The campers took part in a eucharistic procession, and also participated in all-night eucharistic adoration.

As in years past, there were social activities as well, including a trip to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game.

Members of the Knights of Columbus and the Indianapolis Serra Club provided meals for campers.

Father Robert Robeson, rector of the seminary, said that the breakdown of this year’s campers was split between first-time participants and the other half who had attended in years past.

“They’re here to engage in prayer and, of course, to have fun,” he said.

“This is probably a well-above-average group when it comes to their knowledge of the faith,” he added after giving a talk on the sacrament of marriage on June 12 and answering several thoughtful questions. “They’re all pretty committed to their faith.”

Thomas Benkert, a member of SS. Francis and Clare Parish in Greenwood, came back to the retreat and camp-like atmosphere for a second straight year because he enjoyed the experience in 2012.

“It was a chance to bring you closer to God after the [school] year had ended, the hectic life of school,” he said of last year’s experience. “It centered your life on God, and it shut out everything else, and I really like that.”

Thomas, who will be a sophomore at Center Grove High School in Greenwood this fall, said his life of faith benefitted again from this year’s vocations camp.

“[I especially liked] adoration because [Jesus] is actually there,” he said. “It’s a plus because it’s in the seminary and there are less distractions.”

Camper Ernie Mobley, 13, a member of St. John the Apostle Parish in Bloomington, said he was attending the camp for the first time because he is discerning whether a call to the priesthood is in his future.

“I really enjoyed the talk [by Father Robeson],” said Ernie, who will soon be a home-schooled ninth grader, “and I liked adoration and the feeling of being in the presence of God.”

While Father Robeson admitted that the camp “has been pretty fruitful for the seminary” in terms of attracting vocations, he said that assisting the young men in their lives of faith is the ultimate goal.

“[We hope they] concentrate on growing in holiness as a Christian, Catholic man, and once you know that you’ll know your vocation,” he said, echoing a message shared with the campers by transitional Deacon Daniel Bedel. “If you’re focusing on deepening that relationship with Christ and becoming holy and more fully the person God created you to be, following his will, then you’re going to end up where God wants you.

“Regardless of what their vocation is [in life], this is going to hopefully help them learn about their faith,” Father Robeson continued, “and not just learn about their faith but really take responsibility for their faith, and own their faith, and help them better understand the sacraments and live the sacraments better.”

(For more information on Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, log on to www.archindy.org/bsb.)

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