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Ignition 2013
Young men share their hopes and struggles at New York spiritual retreat

Young man praying

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 enjoyable environment. 

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. 

One of 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. 

On the 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. 



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