Men's, women's retreats to focus on building faith

Friday, May. 12, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — Two retreats have been scheduled to help Catholics reconnect with their faith or, in some cases, to connect with God for the very first time, said Sam Akins, one of the retreat coordinators.

These retreats are part of a nationwide program called ACTS, which started in Utah a year ago, Akins said.

What makes an ACTS retreat stand out among others is right in the name, Akins said. The retreat focuses on adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, community, theology and service, and how people can incorporate or improve these elements in their lives, he said.

“For me personally, I get something different out of the ACTS retreat every time,” said Akins, who attended several ACTS retreats when he lived in Massachusetts. He was one of the people to bring these retreats to Utah in 2016.

ACTS retreats originated in San Antonio, Texas, and spread to many different states across America. Every Catholic can benefit from these retreats, Akins said.

“I’ve had experience with people from across the spectrum” who have gone to this retreat, he said. For some, it has led to a renewal of faith, for others, it “can totally change your perspective on life and on God,” he said.

Akins and the volunteers from St. John the Baptist Parish are adding a women’s retreat this year.

Last year’s first ACT’s retreat in Utah was for men, so the addition of a retreat for women is exciting, Akins said.

The addition of the women’s retreat was possible thanks to the help that was given by the parishioners of Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish from San Antonio, Texas, who assisted in the preparation of the men’s retreat and have taken it upon themselves to exclusively handle the women’s retreat, he said.

“These retreats would not be possible without their support and commitment,” Akins said.

John Valdez, one of the volunteers helping prepare for the 2017 ACTS retreat, said that he attended the first retreat in 2016 as nothing more than a casual, slightly curious observer. He was shocked at how profoundly he was touched by that retreat, he said.

“Experiencing the whole event and how it changed my life made me realize that, yes, this movement and ministry had been missing in my life,” Valdez said.

The ACTS retreat provided him with an “experience where you realize where you are, where you’re going and where you want to be in your relationship with God and with your family,” he said.

The retreat makes a person think about themselves, about God and about their lives in a whole new way, Valdez said. This retreat will make people realize that “we can be better evangelizers. … If you think you don’t need (the ACTS retreat), you do.”

Men’s ACTS retreat 

WHEN: June 22-25 

Women’s ACTS retreat

WHEN: June 8-11

Both events will be held at the Wasatch Retreat Center, 75 South 200 East, Salt Lake City. The cost for either is $200. For information or to register, visit


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