On the weekend of October 23-24, student prefect Jon Dickman (’13), Admissions Director Jon Daly, Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer, and Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., led a men’s campout/retreat of some 40 Thomas Aquinas College students.
The men traveled to Pine Mountain in the Los Padres National Forest, about a 90-minute drive from campus, where they enjoyed spectacular views of Lockwood Valley and the Pacific Ocean, with the Channel Islands in the distance. After setting up camp, they settled in for dinner, followed by a spiritual talk by Fr. Paul. The next morning, Fr. Paul offered Mass at sunrise, after which the campers enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes and sausages before making the trip back to the College.
“The campout was conceived as an opportunity for the students to bond with each other after a reflection on the virtues of the Christian man,” says Mr. Daly. “It afforded them a chance to grow together while discerning God’s will in their lives, all in a gorgeous setting that gave them a true experience of the beauty and the depth of God’s creation.”
Given the success of the campout, says Mr. Daly, there will likely be more in the future. “This was the first, but certainly not the last. Looking ahead, the students plan to hold similar events twice a year.”
Video: Grace before dinner
Video: Salve Regina after Sunday Mass