Fr Longenecker goes to Camp

Each summer I try to spend some of my time as camp Chaplain at Camp Kahdalea and Chosatonga near Brevard NC. The camps are wonderful boys and girls camps run the David and Anne Trufant and their family. The Trufants are a faithful Catholic couple full of zeal and joy and enthusiasm for the historic faith. The camp is staffed by kids from Belmont, LSU, Steubenville and others. They like to say that it is not a Catholic camp. It’s a camp run by Catholics.

This is an idea central to a Catholic philosophy of evangelization: that others will ‘catch Christianity’ not so much through overt evangelization efforts (although they are important) but through the personal example and personal contact with individuals for whom the faith is real and vital. Here are Catholics who run a camp that is driven by their love of God, their desire to help form young minds and hearts in the image of Christ and their natural enthusiasm for the life of the Spirit and all of this is expressed not so much in lots of explicit talk of religion, but simply by running a terrific camp in a professional, fun and dynamic way.

This is how the Catholic faith should change the world–but simply getting on with the job fired up and driven by the Spirit within. If we work this way in the world then Christ is being incarnated through all that we do, in the life we lead, in our families, our schools, our parishes and our community. Of course this ‘embedded evangelization’ needs also to become explicit at times. We need clear teaching, apologetics, advertising, public relations efforts, radio, TV etc. However, these apostolates are not real unless people also encounter Catholics living out their lives in a new and dynamic and positive way through many different vocations and callings.

Camps Chosatonga and Kahdalea are just one of so many great apostolates I come across. They inspire and encourage me because I realize that the laity like David and Anne Trufant are doing things that I as a priest cannot do. I often say to laity who think they need to be ordained to serve God: “Follow the call if it is real, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that only the religious and priests really serve God. You can speak to people the way I cannot and I can speak to them the way you cannot. We work together.”

  • Paul Stilwell

    St. Paul the Thirteenth Apostle probably made the best tents anyone had ever seen.

  • Samuel

    As a former camper and JC at Chosatonga, not only was I blessed to make your acquaintance, but also I can personally attest to the faith that motivates the entire program. Dave and Anne have done wonders for their campers.