Field Notes

Fraternity Forged in the Work and Asceticism of the Wilderness

Aug 28
Fraternity Forged in the Work and Asceticism of the Wilderness
Posted August 28, 2013

The experience of Wilderness Outreach has changed my life. It helped me to grow because it forced me to come out of my comfort zone. I was challenged to use my gifts in order to work together with other seminarians to complete a task. There were many physical tasks, but since the entire trip is centered around God and growing as a Catholic man, all the physical challenges were associated with the more important spiritual challenges that underlie discipline, charity, teamwork, leadership and humility. I was challenged each day to reflect on my own life and the way in which I was living in order to make new resolutions and goals for growing in friendship with God and fighting the spiritual battles we are all called to fight in our lives. I grew much closer to my brother seminarians and priests as we struggled and fought together every day not only to complete our physical projects, but also to discuss true masculinity and the challenges that come with living a radical life for Jesus in the midst of our current society. We prayed together, worked together, argued together, and worshiped together. I know those experiences will help to strengthen our friendships for years to come. The mountains and the wilderness were even more beautiful than I had imagined, but as I mentioned, the most beautiful part of Wilderness Outreach for me was the profound effect it has had on my life. It has changed how I approach my formation as a Catholic Seminarian, how I view myself as a son of God and the Church, and how I will live out my Catholic Priesthood (God willing, He continues my call to the altar).

Benjamin Dunkelberger, Seminarian Diocese if Harrisburg