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Companion Camp 2014

Twenty boys in grades six through eight learned June 20-22 that while life in seminary is not all fun and games, there is a good dose of both.

Besides the celebration of Mass, spiritual exercises, and one-on-one conversation time with the seminarians monks of Conception Abbey, participants enjoyed a spirited game of soccer, a good, old fashioned water fight, and a don’t-break-the-egg drop.

The day before they set out on three buses (from Dodge City, Garden City, and Great Bend) for Conception Seminary in Conception, MO, four high school “camp staff” began working “behind the scenes to help with setup, cleaning, and other tasks that come up during the weekend,” explained Becky Hessman, Coordinator of Vocations.

Goretti Sanchez attended her second camp in the very important role of “mom”. Two mothers and a grandmother of participants took part, providing not only valued leadership, but offered a motherly presence to all the boys.

“It’s a good opportunity for the boys to see what the process is of becoming a priest,” Goretti said. “They think that the seminary life is very boring, but then they realize it’s not at all. At camp, they get to interact with seminarians. I thought it was interesting for the boys to see the preparation to become a priest.”

Goretti said that the most poignant part of the event was “being with my child (Andy). I want the best for him and want him to know there are so many options in life. If this is his call, maybe he will consider it in the future.”

It’s Andy’s second camp as well, and his last, since he’ll be too old to attend next year. “It was a pretty nice camp,” said the 13-year-old. “You get to meet the monks. The big Sunday Mass was nice. They brought us to the back and showed us some of the bones of the saints where we prayed.”

Father Ted Stoeklein assistant vocation director, said, “The monks and the staff at Companion Camp did a sensational job. For me, it was a good introduction to retreat. For the boys, it appeared to be a weekend full of action and prayer. I literally couldn’t keep up with them. I’m grateful to Manuel Ultreras, Goretti Sanchez, Kelly Wright, Norma Alvarez and Olga Zuniga for driving and supporting the boys on the journey.”

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