Catholic Herald staff
The Diocese of Superior is hosting a men’s retreat at CrossWoods Camp in Mason the weekend of Feb. 16-18.
“Called Out: Exploring what it means to be a Catholic man and striving to live that out in 21st century America” is the theme for the event, which is geared toward 25- to 55-year-old men.
Activities begin with prayer and fellowship at 8 p.m. Friday.
NET Ministries program director David Rinaldi, a former Air Force captain who flew refueling planes, will be giving a series of talks on Saturday, and Bishop James P. Powers will preside at a Sunday morning Mass.
There will also be time for spiritual guidance, adoration and confession. The retreat concludes at noon on Sunday.
Although the diocese offers opportunities for older and younger Catholic men to interact and build relationships, the event organizer said there are fewer chances for men in the prime of their family and working lives.
“Typically it’s really hard to attract men in that age range,” explained Chris Hurtubise, associate director of Catholic formation. “We wanted to make an event strictly for them.”
The biggest challenge for the demographic is “just being pulled in lots of different directions,” Hurtubise said. Balancing career and family and trying to live out one’s faith, all while giving back to the community and maintaining social ties, can add up to a lot of obligations and not a lot of time.
It’s also Hurtubise’s personal experience. As a 30-something with a wife and two small children, he tries to devote as much time as possible to his primary vocation of family life. His faith is foundational, and that, too, needs maintaining, and he’s just starting his career, so he’s trying to invest in work as well.
“With so many things, when Christ asks us for Him to be our all-in-all, how do I do that with six other things in my life, how do I make Him central in my life?” he added.
“One of the great impoverishments of contemporary American life is the difficulty of forming and maintaining strong male friendships,” wrote Fr. C. John McClosky III in an article on the online forum “The Catholic Thing.”
Hurtubise agrees. He often speaks with men “who are just yearning for authentic Catholic friendship” but haven’t found a group of like-minded men. Conversely, his friends who’ve formed strong bonds with others have benefited greatly from the support and society of fellow Catholics.
One of Hurtubise’s goals with this particular retreat “is to form a nucleus of men in the diocese who are really trying to live their faith out.” There will be time for prayer and formation, but he’s also built in time for fellowship and recreation, so attendees can take advantage of the camp’s rugged environs.
Another of Hurtubise’s goals was to keep the retreat affordable. He attends a weekend retreat each year – it runs about $400 – and he knows that’s too big a sacrifice for many families. Thanks to the generosity of Art Hancock, owner of CrossWoods, use of the facility is being donated for the weekend, so attending the retreat costs only $40 per person.
“He was just really encouraging that we try and build men’s ministry,” Hurtubise added.
Rinaldi, who also gave the keynote address at the diocesan Fall Conference in October 2016, is a prominent speaker who leads a successful ministry, but he’s also a husband and father.
“He’ll bring a lot of varied personal experiences, along with that spiritual wisdom,” said Hurtubise.
Hurtubise knows the power of personal invitation, so he’s asking readers to reach out to family and friends – men in that age range – and encourage them to attend.
Register by Feb. 1 by emailing Grace Busse at gro.s1537540842odcil1537540842ohtac1537540842@essu1537540842bg1537540842. Anyone with questions can contact Hurtubise at gro.s1537540842odcil1537540842ohtac1537540842@esib1537540842utruh1537540842c1537540842.