What is the Men’s Rites of Passage?

The Men’s Rites of Passage is not just another Christian men’s retreat, but five days of formal male initiation.

The Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) is primarily designed for men in second-half of life (ages 30 – 65). Men between these ages are typically dismantling the towers they built during the first-half of life.

What the Rites of Passage…


  • A personal discovery about masculine spirituality and ‘the Holy Mystery.’
  • A time to savor the healing and awesome power of nature.
  • A process to address issues of loss, grief, and relationships with our father, other men, and others.
  • An opportunity to examine life’s priorities and ask courageous questions about your ‘next step.’
  • An invitation to listen to the ‘quiet voice of God.’
  • A chance to return to life with a renewed commitment to your gifts.


  • A traditional lecture-based event.
  • An informational workshop about men’s spirituality.
  • A sensitivity training or deprivation experience.
  • A threatening process that requires participants to engage in anything strange or unsafe.
  • A test of physical stamina.

Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to read more about the event. Where can I find more information?
Books and DVDs can provide valuable insight and should give you an idea whether the Rites of Passage offers what you are seeking. Check out the resources page on this web site. In particular also consider reading From Wild Man to Wise Men: Reflections on Male Spirituality, or Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation. And be sure to check out Illuman’s web site, the men’s organization that administers our program for the MROP.
Can I speak to someone who has attended the event?
If you’d like to talk to someone who has attended the Rites of Passage, please contact us.
I am not sure I am a Christian. Is this is just another religious gathering?
The Rites of Passage are not uniquely Christian. While these particular rites have emerged from the Judeo-Christian Tradition, the rites themselves embrace all faith traditions. The Rites of Passage are not about religion, but about inner spirituality and ancient wisdom traditions that guide us into our true selves and connect us to all human beings as well as the more than human world.
Am I too young, or too old to come?
There is no easy answer to this question.  Illuman offers rites of passage for three age groups:

  1. We have designed a Young Men’s Rites of Passage (YMROP) for a young man (ages 18 – 28), who is ready to be initiated into manhood. This is a first-half of life initiation and is traditionally when a boy enters manhood ready to be affirmed by other men and elders in this process.
  2. Our Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) is primarily designed for men who are in second-half of life (ages 30 – 65). This is typically when men confront the limitations of all that they bought into during the first-half of their life. Not that any of it was all bad, but simply it’s no longer sufficient to take them into the next stage of their life.
  3. Additionally, Illuman has recently developed an Elder Rites of Passage (EROP) (ages 65 – 80). Learn more about the EROP.

For the MROP, we consider anyone over 18, but younger men must have significant experience in their own spiritual journey to attend. We normally encourage younger men to attend the YMROP, unless there is some strong indication that a particular young man is “ready” and has already been initiated into the first-half of life.

An older man in the MROP with significant health problems may find the wilderness experiences too challenging. Most of the men who have come to the MROP are between 30 and 65, but there are many robust men well past 65 who will benefit from these rites.

We will be glad to help any man discern if this is right for him. Please contact us if you have further concerns.

I’m gay. Will I be welcome?
All men are welcome in this sacred and safe space to speak their truth and discern their paths. We will each bring our own insights, anxieties and fears into this shared experience. Again, all are welcome! Ultimately, participants will likely find that we are all more alike than different in our longings, our hungers, and our deepest aspirations.
Are you ready to act?
If you are ready for the Men’s Rites of Passage or that you would like to connect with an Illuman of Pennsylvania Council Circle in your area, please see our list of regional contacts. And again, if you don’t see what you’re looking for or have further questions, please contact us. We’ll be glad to walk you through any questions you may have.

Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

“Men are asked to come with a willingness to participate from beginning to end and not as an observer. All participants begin at point zero with no agendas to fulfill. All that is required is for a man to come with a ‘beginner’s mind’ and the readiness of a young novice seeking wisdom. Ultimately, initiation, like life itself, is not a spectator’s sport.”