“What’s manliness to you? What defines who you are as a man? What do you have inside that defines you?” ask Fr. Michael Sliney and Fr. Martin Connor, two priests of the Legionaries of Christ, in a video introducing Exodus 90 to the Regnum Christi men of the North American Territory.
Exodus 90 is a 90-day program that challenges men to take their game to the next level in their prayer life, personal discipline and team accountability.
According to the National website for the Exodus 90 program, it has four pillars: 90 days, prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. The website explains that “all four taken together lead to freedom. This isn’t a ‘secret formula’ or something new. This is the tradition of the Church, and in a particular way, the spirit of the Desert Fathers of the 3rd and 4th centuries. In fact, there’s really nothing flashy about this; all that’s been done is to re-present the Catholic tradition to men who are often unaware of the rich heritage they have received.”
Exodus 90 arose in response to a profound need: the formation of young priests. It was developed by Father Brian Doerr and seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD) who, having been raised in a society enslaved to sin, longed for a more perfect personal freedom as they anticipated service in the Church. These were good men, men who had already decided that, in response to God’s call, they would give themselves entirely to the work and ministry of the Church.
Exodus 90 was piloted by ten different groups of seminarians from 2013-2015. Having experienced similar successes, year after year, we launched Exodus 90 to bishops, priests and laymen across America (and the world!). Since that time, more than 7,000 men from parishes, prayer groups and movements have registered in Exodus 90 fraternities across the country and are experiencing their freedom as sons of God. The Exodus 90 organization offers the first week of participation in the program at no charge, with a fee of $9.99 per week for the rest of the 90 day period.
After meeting the founder of Exodus 90, Fr. Martin Connor, LC, and Fr. Michael Sliney, LC, decided to organize an initiative inviting all RC Men in the North American Territory who are interested to participate in the program together.
This challenging program involves sacrifice and promises to “impact what you do in your spare time, how much and the type of media you watch and some ascetic practices.” Fr. Michael explains that this challenge is necessary because “unhealthy attachments and distractions can take valuable time and energy away from both family life and the mission, and these practical purgative suggestions can curb unhealthy passions and desires, in a culture that fosters and promotes instant gratification and sensual pleasure. “
The program is about more than breaking bad habits. According to Fr. Martin, it will have a deep spiritual focus and “help men to step up and be great spiritual leaders in the home and workplace.” He explains that concretely, Exodus 90 involves “one hour of prayer a day, sacrifice (such as cold showers, no booze, digital limits, etc..), and accountability within team life.”
To Fr. Michael, the timing seems apt for collaboration with this program because, given the current crisis in the church, many men want to do something concrete to address and rebuild Catholic culture. He explains, “This is a particularly trying time for our Church and a special time for the movement to assume a certain level of leadership in helping to help rebuild a solid Catholic culture. Uniting ourselves to the Cross of our Lord during these days leading up to Lent and throughout the forty days of Lent can be offered up for this intention. It’s about growing in love for Christ and souls, and forming the will to do consistently what God wants, and not want what we feel like or prefer.”