Last weekend at Mass I spoke about some of the events that are upcoming in the parish as we move into September. (You will see these highlighted on a page in our weekly Newsletter, with some more details for each.) I wanted to take a few moments to speak more extensively about one of these: the new men’s group that we are starting.
It has been on my mind since I arrived here that we have the greatest group of guys, always busy doing something, whether it be offering meals (or hosting them), reaching out through St. Vincent de Paul, assisting at Masses, leading the rosary, helping with Communion at homebound facilities, and especially being people we can turn to in almost any need. (I am thinking here of our “tent team,” ready to setup or take down for various events!) The one thing I wished we could do was provide a way of feeding these great guys spiritually and theologically. The hope would be to address the things that matter to them in a way that integrates their experiences in their daily lives with the faith that can inform and further strengthen their already good relationship with God.
In addition, I also know there are many men, some younger with families and children, that cannot always be a part of these many different activities due to their work and family life schedules. It was for this reason that when I heard about “That Man Is You” I was intrigued. It seems to be a way to reach out to a larger group that may not always feel that they are important to our parish family. The design of the program is focused on allowing men to more fully understand their role in not just their families, but in the larger community around us. It intends to do this in a way that men will feel comfortable being a part of, while encouraging a deeper reflection on where God is already a part of their lives, and how that can grow.
A main reason this program so captured my attention is that it is structured so as to keep the time commitment within a relatively small footprint - once a week for an hour and a half, with a clear presentation and time to discuss what was presented. Setting the time for early Saturday morning allows for the rest of the day to be the usual family schedule, thus not disrupting lives too much. (There is the sacrifice to get up early, but without some sacrifice nothing is ever gained.) The feedback from those who have shared this program in the past in other locations is extremely positive, with a special note that they have soon experienced true enthusiasm to meet in this way after just a couple of weeks participation.
We have some tri-fold brochures available at the doors to the church for more details as to what takes place, and I encourage you to take one for yourself (and maybe one for someone you know who might benefit from taking part). The program runs for 13 weeks, but no one will ever force you to continue if this turns out to not be for you (and you can join after it starts if that works for you!). I am really just asking you to “Come and see,” as someone else said when he was inviting his disciples. Registration is by the cards by the church doors or even online if that is easier for you. I really think this may be one of the most powerful things that St. John’s has offered in quite some time for the men of our parish. Think about it, pray about it, and see what your heart is saying to you. I hope you’ll say yes!