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The Athlete’s Retreat

A group of 25 Chaldean Catholic men spent the weekend at St. George Monastery for the first ever Athlete’s Retreat done by St. Peter’s Diocese. The retreat took place on the weekend of April 15, 2016. Fr. Simon Esshaki led talks and discussions about how to see the Christian faith from an athlete’s perspective and how to work toward winning the battles of the spiritual life. The men hiked in the mountains, did other physical exercises, and grew closer to God and one another through prayer and discussions. There was a lot of wisdom and experiences shared during the weekend. Below are some reflections from some of the men who attended the retreat:

The Athlete’s retreat was my first time ever going to a retreat with our church. I truly saw the benefit in a retreat, it was amazing being with 25 different guys, many of whom were already friends but we all became closer over the weekend. It was a fantastic experience, my favorite parts being the discussions and the daily prayers. The discussions truly helped open my eyes, and let me express my feelings and ask questions about things that I wanted clarification with. This retreat was amazing, and the people who ran it and helped out were even more amazing. A special thanks to Father Simon, Peter, Roni and Dany. Truly it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in a while.
-Ryan Ajou

It was great weekend get-away from the world. I grew up playing sports with most of the attendees on the retreat. I also made new friends from the younger generation, I found it very easy to relate once we spoke about our daily battle as Catholics. We competed, played, prayed, reflected, ate and had great conversations as a group. I’m proud to see that our Church can put together such a creative retreat like this and thank Father Simon and the seminarians for all that they did. We are a very lucky community!

“A saint is not someone who never sins, but one who sins less and less frequently and gets up more and more quickly.” ~Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

-Cole Shammas

The Athlete’s Retreat has helped me to fall more deeply in love with God and helped me to have more peace with myself and the people around me. Couldn’t thank Father Simon enough for making the Athlete’s Retreat.
-Mario Goro

The Athlete’s Retreat was a great experience. For me personally, I haven’t been as close to God as I’d like to be. Of course I believed, but this retreat helped me understand what it is that I believe in, and that there are many parallels between being an athlete and worshiping God. I made 24 new brothers and love every one of them! Can’t wait for the next retreat!

-Brian Yono

Sometimes we must retreat from our battles and reflect on our faith. I loved the brotherhood we formed and the laughter we shared, what better way is there to strengthen your armor and create that pathway to victory? Thank you Fr. Simon! #NuncCoepi
-Jonny Hallak

The Athletes Retreat was an amazing experience as it brought the people that went on the retreat a different perspective and way to view and seek God. Not only was it a great spiritual experience but it was a great physical experience. It was the perfect mix of both. I learned to strengthen and continue to build my relationship with Jesus Christ.

-Tristan Farida

The Athlete’s Retreat was an amazing experience. I’m so blessed to be able to go on the first one organized in our diocese and I hope to continue to go every year. It was a great weekend filled with laughs, spiritual journeys, and a heck of yea workout. Thank you to Father Simon and everyone else who organized the trip.
-Adrian Goro