Vocations office sponsors Savio Father-Son Retreat

Special to The Message

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, left, blesses a chasuble and stole that Diocese of Evansville Savio members and their families presented to Father Tyler Tenbarge before a May 5 Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Evansville that kicked off the second annual SAvio Father-Ron Retreat. Bishop Siegel blessed the vestments April 28 in the chapel of Sarto Retreat Center. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

The Diocese of Evansville Vocations Office sponsored a May 5-7 retreat for young men involved in the Savio group and their fathers. The weekend included celebration of the May 6 Feast of St. Dominic Savio. 

Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp in Warren County, Kentucky, near Bowling Green, hosted the retreat, which actually began in Evansville with a surprise for Diocesan Director of Vocations Father Tyler Tenbarge, who also serves as Director and Chaplain of the Father Deydier House of Discernment.

Father Tyler Tenbarge, second from left, shows the chasuble and stole he received from Savio members and their families after he received it from Savio guys Dominic McKenzie, left, James Elpers and Evan Sexton.

Father Tyler planned to celebrate Mass May 5 at St. Boniface Parish’s Sacred Heart Church, whose campus is home to the House of Discernment, before everyone boarded a bus for the trip to Gasper River. Members of the Savio Group asked him to leave the sacristy for a presentation before Mass began.

Savio members and their families ordered vestments – a chasuble and stole – for presentation to Father Tyler, and they obtained an embroidered patch with the image of St. Dominic Savio from Italy, which was sewn into the back of the chasuble. Bishop Joseph M. Siegel blessed the vestments April 28 in the chapel of the Sarto Retreat Center, adjacent to the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Center. 

Savio guy Dominic McKenzie, left, holds the book as Father Tyler offers the Collect during Mass May 5 at Sacred Heart Church in Evansville. Father Tyler celebrated Mass wearing the St. Dominic Savio chasuble and stole he received a few minutes earlier from Savio guys and their families.

Savio members Dominic McKenzie, Evan Sexton and James Elpers publicly thanked Father Tyler for his service to the diocese – and especially to the Savio group – and presented the chasuble and stole to him at Sacred Heart.

Father Tyler said, “I was sincerely surprised. I had no idea the Savio guys and parents had been working together to make and give me such a nice gift. Keeping a few hundred people quiet for months while making a vestment would have been no small task! I am so grateful for the guys and their families, and I am so blessed in my ministries as a priest.”

This group of more than 55 fathers and sons spent a weekend of retreat May 5-7 at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp near Bowling Green, Kentucky. They celebrated the Feast Day of Saint Dominic Savio on May 6. Submitted photo

Father Tyler explained that the annual father-son retreat started in 2022. There was no theme for the 2023 gathering, but there were four intentional father-son discussions scheduled during the weekend:

  • general catching up on life, since most of us are so busy
  • fathers sharing with their sons their own experiences with their dads and what it is like to try to be a good father
  • sons sharing with their dads what they see in them
  • what each is hoping to find in God the Father and Jesus the Son

The weekend also included meals, activities, a father-son competition over a series of minute-to-win-it style games, and lots of free time to hike, fish, read, talk and unwind.

St. Philip, Posey County, parishioners Brian Wilkey, left, and his son Brett placed first overall in the Father-Son Challenges at the Father-Son Retreat this year. Submitted photo