Don’t wait: Sign up for these summer activities now

Aaron Lambert

It might be cold now, but summer’s just around the corner — and now’s the time to make sure you’re not stuck bored at home when the sun comes out to shine.

Catholics in Denver are fortunate to have a wealth of fun, faith-forming conferences, camps and events to occupy their time in the summer months. Main staples of the summer months like the annual Steubenville conference and exciting new additions such as Annunciation Heights leave little excuse for kids, parents and even families to be looking for something to do this summer.

Here are a few options for summer activities happening in the archdiocese.

Annunciation Heights

The new youth and family camp located just outside of Estes Park will be holding their inaugural summer camps this year. There are several options beginning in June through August for both boy and girls from 4th to 12th grade. Additionally, Annunciation Heights will be holding several family camps over the summer – a perfect chance for families to enjoy God’s beautiful creation and spend some quality time together.

Registration for summer camps is open now! Visit annunciationheights.org to sign up.

Photo provided

Steubenville of the Rockies

The annual Steubenville of the Rockies conference here in Denver is consistently one of the coolest, most powerful events of the summer. Thousands of high school-aged youth come from all over the region to connect, learn and worship together. A lineup of dynamic speakers, musicians and of course, Mass with over 2,000 other Catholics makes Steubenville a can’t-miss event for youth this summer. If you’re not in high school but still want to partake in Steubenville, don’t fret! There are plenty of volunteer and service opportunities available.

Registration for Steubenville is open now, but fills up quick! To secure your spot and learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit archden.org/steubenville.

Photo by Aaron Lambert

Totus Tuus

Totus Tuus is a fun and energetic parish-based summer catechetical program for both grade school-aged children and middle and high school youth. It sends college students and seminarians from across the U.S. in teams of four to host events for youth to help them develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and to learn a vibrant example of faith from young adults. Parishes can apply for a Totus Tuus program to be held at their parish, and young adults can also apply to be teachers.

For more information, visit archden.org/totustuus, and check with your parish to see if they’re planning on hosting a Totus Tuus event!

Photo by Andrew Wright

Camp Wojtyla

Camp Wojtyla, named after Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II) and founded by Scott and Annie Powell, is a summer camp that seeks to combine exciting outdoor adventures with deep faith formation. They have 12 different programs for boys and girls of all ages that run through the summer that include activities such as rock climbing, mountaineering, white water rafting and backpacking.

Many of the programs are already full, but visit camp-w.com to be added to a waitlist.

Photo by Kyle Burkey

Highlight Catholic Ministries

Formerly known as Frassati Sports and Adventure Camp, Highlight Catholic Ministries has expanded their programs to include sports camps for both boys and girls. Started in 2016 as a ministry of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Frassati Sports Camp is the boys’ division of Highlight that includes sports camps baseball, basketball, soccer and more. Badano Sports, named for Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano, is the girls’ division of Highlight that was just launched last year. The first Badano summer camps will be launching this summer.

For more information about the summer camps Highlight Catholic Ministries will be offering, visit highlightcatholic.org.

Photo by Aaron Lambert

COMING UP: Historical clarity and today’s Catholic contentions

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

One of the curiosities of the 21st-century Catholic debate is that many Catholic traditionalists (especially integralists) and a high percentage of Catholic progressives make the same mistake in analyzing the cause of today’s contentions within the Church — or to vary the old fallacy taught in Logic 101, they think in terms of post Concilium ergo propter Concilium [everything that’s happened after the Council has happened because of the Council]. And inside that fallacy is a common misreading of modern Catholic history. The traditionalists insist that everything was fine before the Council (which many of them therefore regard as a terrible mistake); the progressives agree that the pre-Vatican II Church was a stable institution but deplore that stability as rigidity and desiccation.

But that’s not the way things were pre-Vatican II, as I explain at some length and with some engaging stories in my new book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform (Basic Books). And no one knew the truth about pre-Vatican II Catholicism better than the man who was elected pope during the Council and guided Vatican II through its last three sessions, St. Paul VI.

On January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII, thought to be an elderly placeholder, stunned both the Church and the world by announcing his intention to summon the 21st ecumenical council. That night, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini (who would be known as Paul VI four and a half years later), called an old friend. An experienced churchman who had long served Pius XII as chief of staff, Montini saw storm clouds on the horizon: “This holy old boy,” he said of John XXIII, “doesn’t know what a hornet’s nest he’s stirring up.”

That shrewd observation turned out to be spot on –– and not simply because of the Council, but because of the bees and hornets that had been buzzing around the ecclesiastical nest for well over 100 years.

Contrary to both traditionalist and progressive misconceptions, Catholicism was not a placid institution, free of controversy and contention, prior to Vatican II. As I show in The Irony of Modern Catholic History, there was considerable intellectual ferment in the Church during the mid-19th century, involving great figures like the recently-canonized John Henry Newman, the German bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler (grandfather of modern Catholic social thought), and the Italian polymath Antonio Rosmini (praised by John Paul II in the 1999 encyclical, Faith and Reason, and beatified under Benedict XVI). That ferment accelerated during the 25 year pontificate of Leo XIII, who launched what I dub the “Leonine Revolution,” challenging the Church to engage the modern world with distinctively Catholic tools in order to convert the modern world and lay a firmer foundation for its aspirations.

American Catholicism, heavily focused on institution-building, was largely unaware of the sharp-edged controversies (and ecclesiastical elbow-throwing) that followed Leo XIII’s death in 1903. Those controversies, plus the civilization-shattering experience of two world wars in Europe, plus a rapid secularization process in Old Europe that began in the 19th century, set the stage for John XXIII’s epic opening address to Vatican II. There, the Pope explained what he envisioned Vatican II doing: gathering up the energies let loose by the Leonine Revolution and focusing them through the prism of an ecumenical council, which he hoped would be a Pentecostal experience energizing the Church with new evangelical zeal.

John XXIII understood that the Gospel proposal could only be made by speaking to the modern world in a vocabulary the modern world could hear. Finding the appropriate grammar and vocabulary for contemporary evangelization didn’t mean emptying Catholicism of its content or challenge, however. As the Pope insisted, the perennial truths of the faith were to be expressed with the “same meaning” and the “same judgment.” Vatican II, in other words, was to foster the development of doctrine, not the deconstruction of doctrine. And the point of that doctrinal development was to equip the Church for mission and evangelization, for the modern world would be converted by truth, not ambiguity or confusion.

Over the past six and a half years, it’s become abundantly clear that more than a few Catholics, some quite prominently placed, still don’t get this history. Nor do the more vociferous elements in the Catholic blogosphere. Which is why I hope The Irony of Modern Catholic History helps facilitate a more thoughtful debate on the Catholic present and future, through a better understanding of the Catholic past.