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Turn to Jesus (Article)

In Frodo’s Footsteps
Lord of the Rings adventure camp brings fathers and sons together in a spectacular New Zealand setting.

New Zealand camp
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.

Unforgettable experiences

Accompanied 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.

They 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 trees.

They climbed snow-capped mountains, went hang-gliding off a ski
Horsebackriding across fields (and streams) reminiscent of Lord of the Rings.
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.

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.

The Masses 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.

Every 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
hang gliding
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.”

He added, “We were all aware while it was happening that this hike was extraordinary, and it was.”

The message of Lord of the Rings

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.

Guest speaker 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 in the Eucharist
Christ made himself present in a discreet, yet real way.
a movie with values, like Lord of the Rings.

He 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.

Relationship building

For Roberto 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



Related links

Alpha and Omega Clinic
Pilgrim Queen of the Family

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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