Samson XV Concludes – Eyes Set on March 2019
Another Samson Retreat has ended and another year of programming is over for The King’s Men. The Samson Retreat has become a staple offering to our apostolate and program year. We begin each year with the Samson Retreat during Lent and then conclude with another healing experience just before Thanksgiving. What a great way it is to wrap up the year with the Samson Retreat program! Allow me to recap our latest healing offering.
On November 8-11, 16 men from California, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maine and Maryland gathered in the Pinelands of NJ. The Discovery House was once again the host site. Chef John McGann treated us to an amazing menu filled with the usual planned comfort foods. As the men gathered on Thursday, we began our time with John’s homemade lasagna. Like Jesus did with so many before he taught and healed, we feed the men before we invite them to listen, learn and experience God’s healing touch.
This retreat offered a tremendous blend of young men (20-30s), middle aged men (40-50s) and senior men (60-70s). Father Jim Hutchins was our chaplain and he opened with a beautiful Mass that served as the foundation for our vulnerability and sharing on the weekend. I have met no priest who is as transparent in sharing his life experience and wisdom in the way that Father Jim does for us. The men really appreciate his ability to share his journey in a way that points to the grace and light of Christ that has seen him through so much difficulty as a man and priest.
The Samson program offers the men who attend a chance to hear some terrific talks on the life of the Old Testament Judge Samson and the Theology of the Cross. These talks are always interwoven with much downtime and experiential activities. These talks are meant to inspire, teach and prove as an example that God’s chosen, are often mistreated, abused and discarded. Yet, we learn through the life of Christ and the saints lives, that suffering has tremendous value and meaning.
“To be a disciple means to follow the Master. He ascended the hill of the cross and transformed it into the seat of glory, a holy place” (as cited in the Morning Prayer, Thursday, November 8, 2018, Magnificat, Vol. 20, No. 9).
These were words that were shared on our healing weekend and providentially offered to us by God as we began our time together. I believe God has His hands all over these weekends. It never fails that the timing of the retreat is always perfect for the men who are in attendance and their stories are always magnificently complimentary with one another. It is not a surprise why this is the case as God has ordained from the beginning of time that his men should come to this sacred place on this particular weekend. Our role is only to be faithful to all that He asks of us. We cooperate and He does the rest. Truly, after nearly 15 years of full-time ministry with The King’s Men and 15 healing retreats executed since 2012, I am convinced without a doubt that God has called us to conduct these retreats for His sons.
So with our 2018 program year coming to an end, we set our eyes on 2019 and the next Samson Healing Retreat experience. The dates for our 16th retreat is March 14-17 and will be held once again at the Discovery House in Hammonton, NJ. This retreat will be nestled right in the middle of our Lenten journeys. Will you prayerfully consider joining us? Know that Christ is calling you to His healing touch and love. Will you respond yes to His invitation? Be not afraid brother.
Mark J. Houck