“High school rebellion” actually led Craig Cameron into the priesthood. He will be ordained for the Halifax-Yarmouth archdiocese on May 12. Photo by Emanuel Pires, archdiocese of Toronto

Cameron believes something good comes out of teen spite

  • April 22, 2012

TORONTO - Craig Cameron’s “great high school rebellion” began one evening after a confirmation class at his local parish in Halifax. The frustrated 17-year-old came home, convinced that he did not want or need to be confirmed. After expressing his frustration and voicing his decision to his mother, he stormed to his bedroom “like only a teenager can” and — this is where the archetypal narrative breaks — began to pray.

It wasn’t that Cameron had a problem with the morality that the Church taught, it was that he had a problem with the morality that the members of the Church were living.

“This discrepancy was a bit of an obstacle for me to receive the sacrament,” he said.

Determined he could be a Catholic without being confirmed, he began to pray every night.

“And that is how my prayer life started,” he said. “Out of spite.”

After a while, however, that prayer life led Cameron to receive the sacrament he once believed he didn’t need. His nightly conversations with God deepened Cameron’s prayer life and brought him to the realization that Jesus’ rising from the dead elicited a response from him.

And the response he made was to be confirmed. Over the next nine years, Cameron immersed himself in the Catholic faith. He had an intense desire to learn, and share, what the Church and Bible had to offer, and he did so through the New Evangelization, a group of young Catholics living and ministering together. They wrote the Holy Father about the work they were doing, and Pope Benedict XVI even wrote back. In 2005, they travelled to Germany for World Youth Day to visit him.

It was there that Cameron began to feel called, somewhere amidst the crowds and the singing, worship and festivities. At the end of a catechetical session with an American cardinal (Cameron admits he can remember neither the subject of the talk nor the name of the cardinal), a young woman asked a question that Cameron can still recall: if God is calling men and women to holy life today, then why are there so few?

“God is calling people probably here and now in this room,” the cardinal responded. “And if everyone in the world who’s being called says no… then the reality is Mother Church will die.”

Those words hit Cameron hard.

“But that won’t happen,” the cardinal added, “because God is perfectly faithful and people will respond.”

And Cameron — for the second time — chose to respond. This time, though, his choice was to become a Catholic priest.

On May 12, marking the end of several years of formation and study at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto, Cameron will be ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth in Nova Scotia.

“It has been an adventure, for sure,” he said. “But it always is with Christ.”

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