Come experience a weekend away with your son in the hills of Western North Carolina!
St. Joseph’s Farm will is hosting a series of father/son retreats this Spring and Summer. This one-of-a-kind retreat, featuring talks on rites of passage that engage both fathers and sons, will be a weekend of adventure, spiritual formation and prayer.
Included in the weekend will be a traditional pig slaughter and roast, skeet shooting, and more. Throughout the weekend, Jason M. Craig, co-founder of Fraternus and author of Leaving Boyhood Behind, will guide participants to a deeper understanding of their relationships as fathers and sons, their identity as men, and provide simple but important principles to strength this bond. However, the most important part is the experience of the fathers with their sons in natural Christian brotherhood.
- Price covers the cost of all the lodging, food, and experiences during for weekend.
- Also included is a copy of Leaving Boyhood Behind.
- Availability is very limited. Sign up today for early registration price of $250.
- March 29 and April 25 weekend are for 13+ (older sons in their adult years will have a great time with their fathers).
- May 17 weekend is for ages 7-12.
- Please note: if your son is older but less mature, you may bring him to the younger boy weekend. Please email details after ordering.
NOTE: Two (2) registrations are needed per family. (i.e. 1 per father, 1 per son)
Schedule and Elements Overview:
This is an overview, as an element of the unknown is necessary. Sacraments, including Mass, are not always available on every weekend, so participants should go to confession prior to attending. Attendees go to the local parish on Sunday if no priest is attending the retreat.
The common prayer is the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you would like your own copy, purchase the Baronius Press version.
- Friday evening begins with a meatless dinner, introduction and welcome, and then the pig is slaughtered and cooled overnight. Fathers and sons may arrive as early as noon, but dinner is served between 5-6pm.
- Saturday begins with a breakfast featuring, like all meals, meat and dairy from the farm, followed by a cycle of talks, structured skills-based activities (processing wood, shooting (target or skeet based on ages), and free time with your son. Throughout the day participants help in the slow-cooking of the pig, which ends with the festivity that only slow-cooked pork can support.
- Sunday is a day of rest and leisure. Fathers and sons are encouraged to spend this day mostly together, and are free to either go on another adventure in Western, NC, or enjoy the hikes, scenery, and river surrounding the lodge where they stay. If there is not a priest on the retreat, everyone attends the local parish Mass. (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms are available within a reasonable distance.)
Q. What happens on a father/son retreat?
A. See this blog post for answers to that… mostly.
Q. What are the sleeping quarters like?
A. Although the “lodge” where we stay is rustic in décor, it is a thoroughly furnished and comfortable, complete with a rather nice kitchen, ice machine, fireplace, etc.
Q. Do I need to bring towels and things?
A. No. Sheets, towels, etc. are provided.
Q. Do I have to be an “agrarian” or want to move to a farm?
A. No. Retreats are agrarian in nature but it is a means to an end, not the end goal of the retreat content.
Q. Do you split fathers and sons up?
A. No. Our retreats – talks, activities, etc. – are all done together. We do not “divide and conquer” here but rather seek to “turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and sons to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).
Q. Is there any free time or is it all structured?
A. There is plenty of free time, and if you choose you can always go off on a hike, swim, etc. with your son if that’s what’s needed.
Q. What’s the main point of the talks?
A. The talks focus on the role of men as revealed by Jesus Christ and confirmed by honest observation. There is also heavy emphasis on the relationships between men as sons, brothers, and fathers. This is all told within the contextual understanding of rites of passage, where fathers help to draw boys into mature Christian masculinity.
Q. Do I have to be Catholic do attend?
Q. Are the Sacraments available?
A. Sometimes. The retreats typically end on Sunday by attending a local parish for Mass. If a priest can make it there are confessions, but participants should strive to arrive in a state of grace, having gone to confession prior.
Q. Are we going to be working all weekend?
A. No. The activities, however, do involve some mild labor (splitting wood, etc.) and are related to the work of cooking the pig for the Saturday feast, but it is not so much as to ware down a man.
Q. Will I have to kill a pig? Or gut it?
A. Not directly. The hog killing/processing is an important part of the weekend, but no one is forced to be more intimate with that process than desired.
Q. Can I bring more than one son?
A. Yes, but more than two is not recommended, and it is ideal to come with one at a time.
Q. My son is mature, can he come on an older weekend?
A. That decision is yours – just let us know. The age breaks try to provide a consistent weekend, but it is ultimately up to a father and it is not essential that everyone be of similar age.
Q. My son is older, can he come?
A. Absolutely! In fact, this can be a particularly powerful way to strengthen or heal the relationship with older sons.
Q. My son and I aren’t getting along, will this help?
A. Maybe. The content of the talks may provide the means to understand why tensions come up, especially in the teenage years, and provide the means to overcome them. However, this all depends on the openness of both father and son and what’s the source of tension.
Q. Do I have to be all zealous for faith and stuff?
A. Men that think they don’t need God, truth, faith, virtue, and strong bonds with their son should not come.
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