Catholic Boot Camp


By Joe Stopulos

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview a young Catholic man who recently graduated from high school, joined the Marines and was four days removed from boot camp when we met. When recruits join the Marines, they submit themselves to the will of their superiors for their first 13 weeks in order to become the best soldiers they can be. The physical and mental challenges they push themselves through lead them to places they never dreamed they could get. Strength. Discipline. Fortitude. All of these qualities, and many more, are discovered and developed in 90 days.


We as Catholic men need a spiritual boot camp. That’s why last year I challenged the men of this diocese to join me for the Exodus 90 program, a 90-day journey to freedom; freedom from addiction to sin and, more importantly, the freedom to choose the good. Many men responded to that call and many lives were changed.

What does it look like? Well, it is basically Catholic boot camp. In short, 90 days of cold/lukewarm showers, no alcohol, no desserts or sweets, no eating between meals, no soda, no television or movies, no televised sports; computers for research and work only, regular exercise, weekly group meetings and a few more fun activities.


You probably have the same reaction I did (and many other men, as well): “Not … a … chance.” That is the logical response, quite honestly. But I have seen the lives of many men transformed by responding to this call. If it weren’t life changing, I wouldn’t be preparing for my third one, and encouraging you to join me.

Here is a quote from a man who read this article last year and took up the challenge:

“I’ve done everything under the sun to grow in my faith — conferences, retreats, pilgrimages, mission trips, degrees, small groups, books, more books, new ways, old ways — but nothing has made a deeper and more lasting effect than Exodus 90.”
If you start your Exodus on Jan. 21, you will finish on Easter Sunday (April 21). Ash Wednesday will be your halfway point.

If you are looking to become the man God has called you to be, here is your opportunity. If you are struggling with a habitual sin that you want to overcome or you just want to be pushed to grow in your faith, here is your opportunity. Form a small group (preferably four to seven men), hold each other accountable and enjoy the fruits of the hardest 90 days of your life.

And yes, the cold showers are brutal.

Visit to register for this life-changing experience.

(Joe Stopulos is a co-host of “Man Up!,” a weekly radio show and podcast for Iowa Catholic Radio.)

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