Bootcamp 2011: The (Good) Shepherd

I am back from two days (and a bit) at the latest edition of the Credimus Bootcamp, an undeservedly shortened edition this time. Next year is the fifth edition, and this potentially week-long camp of Catholic catechesis, culture and enjoyment will hopefully have a record number of attendants then. I will certainly be there again.

This year’s speakers were a diverse bunch, even though the general theme was that of the shepherd: the Good Shepherd that is Jesus Christ, but also our every day shepherds, the bishops, the shepherd of the world Church, the pope and some of his predecessors, and the shepherd’s duty of taking care of his sheep.

Fr. Bunschoten during his lecture

There was Deacon John van Grinsven speaking about his work with the homeless and addicted; Brother Ignatius Maria of the Community of St. John, who led a Bible study on the imagery of the shepherd in the Gospel of John (and also the OT books of Ezekiel and Zechariah); Fr. Floris Bunschoten who introduced us to the bishops’ task of sanctifying their flock; and Fr. David van Dijk, our host, who took us through the popes from Blessed Pius IX to our current Holy Father. Quite a variety of topics, which were supplemented by unscheduled conversations with visiting clergy and communal dinners, prayer and Mass (in both forms of the Latin rite).

Mass in the ordinary form of the Latin rite, celebrated ad orientem

Personally, I enjoyed the two days in the parish of St. Mary Magdalene, Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch, as a welcome immersion in Catholic life. The rhythm of prayer, the sharing of knowledge and ideas, the enjoyment of the company of fellow faithful all made for a bootcamp that really deserves more attention, attendance and publicity. Next year is the fifth edition, so let’s hope and pray that it may turn out to be the best edition yet!

Bootcamp program unfolds

With the release of the new website the Credimus Bootcamp program is fleshed out a bit more. Announcements of speakers have been published on Twitter and Facebook before, but are now gathered online on the site which also offers practical information and a rousing invitation to sign up and join the bootcamp for its fourth installment:

Do you like good conversation while enjoying a good Trappist beer, but the silence that grabs you by the throat in an old church?

Are you curious about the tradition that is the foundation beneath the culture of which you are a part every day?

Do you want to take a peek at the power which keeps everyone and everything in existence for every second of every minute?

Then you are probably CATHOLIC (or you really need to become one).

Deacon van Grinsven

Three priests and a deacon have been confirmed to speak under the banner of this year’s topic: Shepherds. Father David van Dijk, who also hosts, will speak about the eleven popes from Pius IX onwards; Deacon John van Grinsven will discuss his work with homeless people, founded in the Gospel; Fathers Marcel Dorssers and Floris Bunschoten will speak on topics that are yet to be announced. Fathers van Dijk and Dorssers wil join the bootcamp for the fourth and third time respectively.

Father Bunschoten celebrates Mass in both forms, and he has been training priests and seminarians in the Extraordinary Form at the Tiltenberg seminary. I expect he will also offer Mass in that form at bootcamp. There will also be Masses in the ordinary form, offered by Father van Dijk and other priests.

The Credimus Bootcamp will take place from 16 to 22 July, and will cost 90 euros to attend (or less if you plan to visit for less than the full week).

The church of St. Mary Magdalen as seen from the garden of the parish house.

Gearing up for Bootcamp 2011

The flyer for Bootcamp 2010, designed by Brother Hugo

When good Catholic catechesis and education beyond the basic topics is hard to find, you sometimes need to provide for it yourself. That is the basic reason why the Credimus Bootcamp was held for the first time in 2008. This year it will be organised for the fourth time and already the PR machine is gearing up. To the left you’ll notice the design of the flyer by Brother Hugo, the diocesan hermit who has been involved with Bootcamp from the start. He was also the host of the first edition.

The topic of Bootcamp 2011 is ‘shepherds’. I don’t know anything beyond that either, but I am sure that, over the course of the coming months, we will find out a bit more.

Bootcamp 2011 will be held from 16 to 22 July in Geffen, Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Father David van Dijk will be host for the third time running.

An impression of my experiences of Bootcamp 2010 can be found in my blog post Back from Bootcamp.

Credimus Bootcamp is a week of liturgy and lectures, but also social activities and relaxation, aimed at people roughly between 16 and 35. There will be daily Mass in both forms of the Latin rite, offered by various guest priests, the Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, and every day guests will come and speak about all kinds of topics (past topics included the sacrifice of the Mass, Gregorian chant (also in workshop form), ecclesiology, a first-hand account of an approved miracle and people’s innate urge to find God.

Next to that, there is ample time for relaxation, meals together, a day trip on the free day in the middle of the week and random Catholic encounters with people, traditions and artifacts from the dark attic of the faith, to paraphrase Brother Hugo. For most people attending it is also a week that does not leave them unaffected: in the end, Bootcamp is all about the encounter with the living God.

Follow the Bootcamp organisation, which includes the authors of Ingrid Airam and David’s Weblog, on Twitter via CmusBootcamp and on Facebook.

Back from Bootcamp

I am back from a week (which seemed to go by far too quickly, as all such things do) at the Credimus Bootcamp. I enjoyed the hospitality of Father David van Dijk, and the company of good, intelligent and faithful friends. Many topics were discussed, both in interactive workshops and in lectures, and some may find their way into this blog in due time. But for now I will make do with a selection of photos I took over the course of the week.

My breviary lies ready for Lauds.
Decoration on the ceiling where the nave crosses the transept
Shadowplay in the north transept of the church
Our first guest speaker was Father Marc Heemels. He spoke about the Benedictine monastery of Le Barroux in France
Another workshop was about Gregorian music and its history. Here, diocesan hermit Brother Hugo takes a look at some examples of medieval music notation
Later, Brother Hugo taught us, or tried to teach us, the very basics of Gregorian singing
We had Masses in both forms of the Latin rite. Here Father Harry van der Vegt, cathedral administrator in Utrecht, offers Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Fr. David van Dijk was our host. Here he delivers the homily during the week's first Mass (in the Ordinary Form)
The thurible is lit, ready to incense the Blessed Sacrament
A nightly returning ritual: at the end of an hour of Adoration and Compline, Fr. David gives Benediction
A day trip on Wednesday included a viewing of many religious artifacts, including this medieval manuscript of Gregorian music
A vibrant stained glass window in the church of the Immaculate Conception in Oss, another stop on our trip
The interior of the church of St. James the Greater in the town of Zeeland
A barbecue on the penultimate night, with the weather cooperating exquisitely.
One of Fr. David's two cats says hello

Credimus Bootcamp, edition 3

For the third time I’ll be attending the so-called Credimus Bootcamp, this year from 17 to 23 July. It’s been suggested I should advertise it a bit here, and I gladly do so.

So, what is this Bootcamp thing? On the website it is described as a ‘Catholic catechesis camp for young people who want to learn more about their faith’, and that’s as good a description as I can think of. Whereas conventional catechesis in most parishes is necessarily general and superficial, the Credimus Bootcamp wants to delve into the depths of the Catholic faith, to answer the difficult questions and come up with all manner of treasures from the wealth of our faith.

In my experience it is not only a learning experience where you’re made to think and learn, both intellectually and spiritually, but also a pleasant week spent with like-minded people. Serious Catholics can have fun too, and Bootcamp offers plenty of fun.

During most days, guest speakers (priests, religious and lay people) will come and speak about subjects in their field of expertise, we will have Mass in both forms of the Latin rite, we will pray the Liturgy of the Hours together and of course sit down for meals and a drink or two in the evenings.

Of the guest speakers there have already been three confirmed for this year: Father Marc Heemels, parish priest in the parish of St. John the Baptist/Holy Curé of Ars in Eygelshoven in the Diocese of Roermond; Brother Federico of the Institute of the Incarnate Word; and Father Harry van der Vegt, cathedral administrator of the cathedral of St. Catherine and priest of the church of St. Willibrord, both in Utrecht.

Past speakers (who have included Father Tim Finigan, Father Cor Mennen, Deacon Peter Vermaat and Brother Hugo) discussed all manner of topics, ranging from the liturgy to the saints to ecclesiology. Anyone with a functioning brain should be able to follow the lectures and meetings, even if they go deeper than what you’re used to.

This years edition will take place in the parish of St. Mary Magdalen in Geffen, in the Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch, where Father David van Dijk will host us for the second time.

For more information you can hop over to the Bootcamp website and sign up. Bootcamp will be in Dutch, although many attendees will speak English too.

Extraordinary Form in Groningen?

Fr. David van Dijk offers Mass ad orientem, the direction of Mass also used in much of the Extraordinary Form

Het Bisdomblad, the monthly magazine published on behalf of the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, features an interesting one-page article by Father Leo van Ulden ofm, the vicar general, about the Extraordinary Form of the Latin rite. Most of the piece deals with some general considerations about the form and the rituals, as well as the sense of sacrality. There are a few dubious points, mainly about the pope’s intention in allowing the Extraordinary Form to be used (it was never disallowed to begin with, really), but the interesting bit is at the end. 

Fr. van Ulden writes that the pope has asked the dioceses to offer space for people who want to celebrate Mass in this ‘somewhat unusual form’. Quoting (and translating): 

“In our diocese there are two churches open to this: the cathedral of Saint Joseph in Groningen and the parish church of Saint Martin in Sneek. Both still have the liturgical layout and atmosphere suited for a Tridentine Mass. […] Should a reasonable number of people be interested in this form of the liturgy, they can contact the author.” 

I know that asking for ‘a reasonable’ amount of interest is in fact discouraged by Rome (numbers should play no part in offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form – a priest can in fact decide to do this without any request from his parish), but I believe that the above quote should be welcomed warmly. As far as I know it is one of the first positive steps towards implementing the motu proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ in our diocese, and as such comes with some practical considerations: finding a priest who can say Mass in this form, for example. 

I’d be very interested to see positive developments in this.