Select Page

Two Samson Retreats Completed in 2019


So much to update you on as regards the Samson outreach since the beginning of the year.  We took this amazing transformational retreat to Prescott, AZ on February 14th.  Our 16th installment of this retreat, this Samson was truly unique and offered us an amazing experience with the 9 men who attended.  Patterdell Pines, our host site, is a great location and a future and stable home for the Samson Retreat offering in the Southwest. Here are some great photos taken from this experience (unavailable at present).


The retreat was anointed as usual, but marked some new beginnings for the Samson Retreat program.  Here were some firsts and what we learned:

  1. The retreat location is extremely hard to find at night (sorry Alvaro);
  2. Mountain lions, bears and elk are a great backdrop to a healing retreat;
  3. Although our chaplain was not in residence we learned that we can conduct an effective and vibrant healing program without a priest present in the retreat house;
  4. Bare shirts at a Samson Retreat in February, even in AZ, is still a bad idea (no offense Zig);
  5. The sunrise hike is just as glorious in the Western side of the country as it is in the Eastern;
  6. Paul Grogger is still an amazing chef & Mango Salsa pairs beautifully with fish;
  7. Never doubt the value of a huge bowl of holy water and blessed salt!;
  8. Carrying a huge vertical cross beam with two men is always better and easier than with one (thanks Pat)
  9. Carrying a huge cross with three men is needed for an over 300 lb cross (thanks Matt & Justin);
  10. A pick-up truck is easier to get through mud and Justin likes to drive one

Our 17th  Samson Retreat installment took place March 14-17  at the Discovery House in Hammonton, NJ.  Another 13 men arrived for this retreat, which continues to grow in its beauty and refinement. Father Jim once again served as our chaplain and blessed us with his charism for healing, laughter and great teachings.  The Samson Leader team welcomed a new addition at this retreat, Jari Bolbotowski.  Jari, did a tremendous job serving the men on the weekend.  His wisdom and insight was used to elevate the retreat at just the right times.  Also, those cherry flavored cigars were a nice addition too!!

One thing I have come to expect from the Samson Leader Team over the years is that we are of one heart.  The spirit, love, teamwork and brotherhood among the leaders is always very real and arguably the best offering that the Samson retreat program has for men, outside of the Eucharist.  Mark Ryan, Chas DeFeo, Matt Moucha, Chris Tray, aforementioned Father Jim and Jari, were exceptional this past weekend and a great gift to me, both personally and professionally.

The next Samson Retreat is scheduled for November 7-10.  Sign-up and reserve your spot soon!

Yours in Christ’s healing love,

Mark Houck