|Roberto and Nico Sanchez enjoy a moment overlooking Lake Wakatipu.|
February 10, 2010. Queenstown, New Zealand. There are times when
fathers and sons need more time together than just a
few hours on a Sunday afternoon… and when the time
is right for a once-in-a-lifetime trip in each other’s company.
For the group of fathers and sons that went on a Lord
of the Rings themed camp in New Zealand from December
28 to January 6, that time had come.
by native New Zealander Fr Peter Devereux, LC and Fr
Juan Gabriel Guerra, LC, the campers and their dads traversed
some of the most varied and beautiful terrain on earth.
went on three hikes in the mountains where The Lord
of the Rings was filmed. One hike took them into
a World Heritage Preserve, a forest so preserved and pristine
that hikers are not even allowed to touch the fallen
They climbed snow-capped mountains, went hang-gliding off a ski
hill, rode horses across Lord of the Rings fields and
rivers, went lugeing down a mountain, bicycled along Lake Wakatipu,
rode a jetboat up Dart River, and enjoyed speedboat rides
around the lake.
|Horsebackriding across fields (and streams) reminiscent of Lord of the Rings.|
They also went on a mission and
a scavenger hunt through Queenstown, engaging the local people in
conversation and inviting them to an evening prayer service.
were celebrated in different places every day, from mountain tops
to the nearby St Joseph’s to a quiet spot by
a river during a hike— “in God’s cathedral,” as Fr
Peter puts it. Night prayers were at the local chapel.
evening, the group ate dinner at the Devereux family home,
hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Devereux, whose welcoming spirit gave
the boys and their dads a sense of home away
from home. They even had dinner one night with all
the local Queenstown priests, who happily converged on the Devereux
|The Drapeau father-son hang-gliding team.|
home for good food and cheerful company.
For Mike Drapeau,
a dad, there were moments the camp that he will
never forget. “We hiked up a mountain, starting out with
warm weather at the base, and ended up at the
top with 50 mile-per-hour winds, a snow-capped mountain top, and
a crystal clear cold mountain lake at the summit.”
“We were all aware while it was happening that this
hike was extraordinary, and it was.”
The message of Lord of
In addition to the open-air adventures, the camp had
another dimension, with a special focus on The Lord of
the Rings. Every night, the group watched a segment of
The Lord of the Rings and discussed it together, analyzing
the virtues, vices, and the themes at play.
Tim Sander, the producer of the movie, spoke about the
media industry and the challenges that he experiences as a
practicing Catholic. In his talk, he commented on how it
was “so worthwhile” for him to be able to produce
|Christ made himself present in a discreet, yet real way.|
a movie with values, like Lord of the Rings.
also showed great interest in the boys and in their
plans for their future, and gave them some advice on
the different career choices they had in mind.
Sanchez, a dad, the trip was a golden opportunity to
reconnect with his son. He commented that “family relationships really
require time. My son needs me to spend time with
him; that’s how he understands my love for him. Going
to New Zealand helped me to disconnect from a tough
year and focus on my son.”
He also noted that the
activities were designed to help foster communication, and that the
moments of prayer and Mass “help to heal wounds and
grow in mutual acceptance.”
The trip was not cheap, but Mike
Drapeau recommended it as an investment in a relationship: “It
has given us a common bond and a shared experience,”
he said. “We each made commitments about how to change
our behavior towards each other and then shared what those
resolutions were. So far, so good!”
To find out more about
next year’s father-son adventure camp in New Zealand, contact Fr
Peter Devereux, LC, at email@example.com.