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Archives ‘Exodus 90’ helps men focus on Christ

March 13, 2019

By Amanda Conklin
Contributing WriterExodus 90

Two groups of men in the diocese are in the midst of a 90-day spiritual exercise centered around sacrifice and spiritual connection. They’re participating in “Exodus 90.”

Small groups of men in Saranac Lake and Canton/Potsdam started the Exodus 90 program on January 21 and will end on Easter Sunday. The group members meet weekly to discuss their experiences.

The program is an “extended Lent” of sorts. The men fast and abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. They abstain from alcohol, sugar, snacking in between meals, television, movies, and video games, and only use their phones and computers for work and prayer. They also commit to taking cold showers and exercising regularly, and they reserve time for a daily holy hour. The men are also encouraged to go to confession at least once a month and to check in with their “anchor,” an accountability partner, daily. In addition, those participating are encouraged to attend at least one daily Mass a week.

The Exodus 90 program was started by Father Brian Doerr and seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 2013. The program was developed to assist in the formation of young priests, teaching them how to detach themselves from worldly distractions to wholly give of themselves to the ministry of the church. The program later expanded to include lay men.

Since its inception, over 15,000 men have registered for the Exodus 90 program.

The purpose of Exodus 90 is not penance, but to allow participants more freedom to connect with God and build fraternity.

While drawing on the experiences of early church fathers in the 3rd and 4th centuries, the program also draws on modern technology. Exodus 90 has an app, which provides 90 daily spiritual readings from the book of Exodus and corresponding meditations for the men completing the program.

Though only halfway through the program, those participating are already seeing improvements in their spiritual lives. Josh Parker, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Church in Canton, said he has seen great merit in following Exodus.

“I decided to do Exodus 90 because I was struggling to fully put Christ and the church first in my life,” Parker said. “I had fallen into the comfortable place of doing the spiritual and physical devotions that came most easily to me. I wanted to push beyond these to truly ‘pick up my cross’ and follow Christ to be a better disciple, parishioner, husband and father.”

The program ultimately brings more spiritual depth, however, it is not without its challenges.

“For me, the biggest challenge has been to totally give of myself to God,” said Jimmy Law, a parishioner of St. Bernard’s Parish in Saranac Lake. “It is challenging to give up the vices of today’s world, things like spending money on material things, eating and snacking to excess, digital communication and media consumption, all the things that remove me from being close to God that become addictive and hard to break. Living the ascetic life has been very hard. Taking daily cold showers, fasting and abstaining, exercising, no snacking or desserts, soda etc. is hard but truly focuses me back to why I am doing Exodus 90 and actually becomes routine and provides a sense of purpose.”

Leif Rozon, a parishioner of St. Bernard’s Parish in Saranac Lake, said he finds strength to commit to the program through the fraternity that has formed within Exodus 90.

“I’ve found great camaraderie within the group format,” he said. “I’m not doing this alone. We share similar struggles and some of their thoughts and ideas have helped put my own into perspective. They’re praying for me and I am praying for them. This has been a huge blessing.”

For more information, or to start a group in your area, visit www.exodus90.com

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