As the ECYD Boy’s Section Director in Atlanta, Georgia, Fr. Patrick O’Loughin, LC, has a calendar jam-packed with a variety of events and activities. Along with his ECYD team, he is responsible for all of the resources and tools that ECYD provides to the boys for their spiritual formation, organizes all of the ECYD teams and the Conquest clubs in Atlanta, and coordinates the different spiritual mentors, including Legionary priests and Regnum Christi men and young adults, who provide spiritual accompaniment to the boys about once a month. Fr. Patrick also helps coordinate ECYD apostolic opportunities, serving on Mercy Missions Atlanta that runs monthly missions for high schoolers. In addition, Fr. Patrick runs all the local ECYD boy’s events, like retreats which are typically held several times a year, and a Father and Son Camp that is put on each semester. Just recently, he finished up Camp Atlantas, a week-long camp for boys in fifth to eighth grades, held this June in Jasper, Georgia.
Besides being the ECYD Boy’s Local Director in Atlanta, Fr. Patrick is also on the National ECYD Life Department Team, currently headed up by Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, Maria Knuth. As a part of this team, he helps with coordinating national events for the boys, including ECYD Summer Mission Corps program which gathers and high school boys and girls across the world into teams to serve at ECYD camps, retreats and missions over the summer.
Despite having his hands full coordinating local and national ECYD boy’s activities, there was one event that Fr. Patrick and some of the other ECYD Boys directors felt was still missing. Growing up in ECYD himself, one of Fr. Patrick’s greatest memories of his time as a young member were the national conventions he used to attend. Raised in Syracuse, New York, Fr. Patrick fondly recalls the large ECYD conventions he would travel across the border to attend in Cornwall, Ontario. “Back in the day when I was a boy, it was a big convention, with a lot of boys, and we would play hockey, we would go to a Montreal Canadians NHL game, we would visit St. Joseph’s Oratory, and there would be a huge competition between all the different clubs there all the way through it. I just remember having such a fantastic time.”
These fond memories gave Fr. Patrick the idea to organize a national ECYD sports tournament, working with different ECYD directors and localities all over the United States. The tournament, which was coordinated by an organizing team consisting of Legionary priests and ECYD high school students and RC young men, was hosted at the Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, and was held over President’s Day Weekend in February of this year. Middle school boys from ECYD sections from various localities, such as Atlanta, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Houston, joined in the three-day tournament, and the participants from the different localities even showed up in their own unique ECYD team jerseys! Besides competing in a variety of sports, the boys enjoyed activities like scavenger hunts, an ECYD Holy Hour, and even a day of skiing. “It was a great experience to see a lot of the boys who came from the south who had never skied before – they were just super excited to see all the snow and go skiing in Indiana,” says Fr. Patrick. “It was a really great time, and I was so impressed that for a first-time event we had teams from all over the country come and have a blast. Everyone loved it.”
The event was such a success that Fr. Patrick has also saved the date for next year’s tournament – it will be held once at Sacred Heart Apostolic School over President’s Day weekend (February 17th – 20th, 2023), and Fr. Patrick is looking forward to even more boys from even more ECYD sections taking part.
Fr. Patrick was assigned to Atlanta in 2018 as director of the ECYD boys section in the greater Atlanta area, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 4, 2019. Besides his work with ECYD on the local and national level, Fr. Patrick also serves as a part-time campus ministry chaplain at Pinecrest Academy, a Regnum Christi School in Atlanta. And although Fr. Patrick spends much of his time coordinating ECYD events, one of the aspects of his role in ECYD that he enjoys the most is the one-on-one conversations he gets to have with the boys after the events are all over. “I really love the spiritual mentoring part of my role, following up on retreats and camps or the different experiences that the boys have had, and seeing how the Lord is working in them.”
To find out more about ECYD in your area or to stay informed on national events, visit their website at ecyd.org. To find out more about Fr. Patrick’s work with ECYD in the Atlanta area, visit ECYD Boys Atlanta.