Thornwood, New York – Sixty-nine young men gathered
at the Our Lady of Thornwood Conference Center in Thornwood,
New York to ring in the New Year at the
Ignition 2013 retreat.
Between December 28, 2012, and
January 1, 2013, the high school students came together from
locations including Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Michigan,
and Florida. The event was organized by the
Regnum Christi Mission Corps team of New York under the
direction of Fr. Jason Smith LC, Br. Ryan Harkins LC,
and Michael Jacobeen of the Mission Corps team.
RC current and past missionaries in attendance
lead all the sessions. Activities included daily Mass,
morning and evening prayers and inspirational talks. Sports
activities and games like “Airsoft” battles and paintball created a
spirit of camaraderie among the young men, and also helped
the RC Missionaries get to know the participants in an
One of the
most powerful moments took place on the second day of
the Ignition retreat. Young men shared their testimonies
of struggles with sin, including pornography, sexual sin and drug
abuse. They talked about how Christ helped them
overcome these problems.
the high points of the events took place during a
special period of Eucharistic Adoration. On the second
day of the retreat, with lights burning low and soft
guitar music playing, the young men focused on the monstrance
containing the Real Presence of our Lord while one of
the missionaries read through an anonymous list of “addictions” written
down earlier by the young men. The group
prayed aloud for each person and all those who are
struggling with the same issues. Some of the
young men came forward to receive a personal Benediction from
the Blessed Sacrament.
final day, the young men visited St. Rose of Lima
parish in Newtown, Connecticut (the town where the tragic school
shooting recently took place) and prayed the Rosary and sang
hymns. The pastor, Msgr. Weiss, came over to
speak to the group after the Rosary.
During that afternoon, David Dusek of from Rough
Cut Men Ministries gave two presentations to the highschoolers -- the first about the need for young men
to consider each other as “brothers,” and the second about
the importance of the relationships with their fathers.
That night, the group split into two
groups, inviting the young men to share their experiences from
the retreat. One after another, the young men
spoke about their struggles with pornography, objectification of the opposite
sexual, drug use, depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts, and other
sins. Fighting back tears, some talked about how
badly they wanted to overcome these problems. Then
everyone gathered in the chapel for Exposition and Adoration of
the Blessed Sacrament to bring in the New Year.